Guy Sebastian’s former manager Titus Day found guilty of embezzlement

Day was found guilty of misappropriating payments that should have gone to Sebastian, including $187,524 of the $435,024 the singer earned for supporting Taylor Swift in 2013, performance fees for private weddings, and $77,042.96 related to a Dreamworld ambassadorship.

He was also found guilty of taking $218,795 of Sebastian’s royalties.

Crown prosecutor David Morters, SC, said Day should be immediately taken into custody following the verdicts, arguing that jail time was likely because Day “systematically, over an extended period of time” took Sebastian’s money for his own benefit. The application will be decided on Friday.

Guy Sebastian leaves Downing Centre District Court in Sydney last month.

Guy Sebastian leaves Downing Centre District Court in Sydney last month.Credit:Brook Mitchell

Day’s barrister argued during the trial that Sebastian and his former manager had both accused each other of owing money, and the jury should acquit him of all charges to allow the commercial dispute to be adjudicated elsewhere.

Day had been Sebastian’s long-term manager and Sebastian followed him when he started his own company, 6 Degrees, in 2009. Sebastian’s income was paid to Day, who deducted a 20 per cent commission and GST before forwarding the rest to the singer.

The court heard various amounts were not paid into Sebastian’s “GuyTunes” account, causing him to part ways with Day in November 2017 and launch action in the Federal Court. Sebastian also reported the matter to police in June 2020.

Sebastian told the court he approached a detective who had been in a cricket team with his friend Tim Freeburn, initially asking for advice and later making his complaint. This was for several reasons, including not wanting to be photographed at a police station.

The decision to approach Detective Senior Constable David Murphy became a focus for Day’s barristers, who argued it was unusual for a police officer to have a social connection with the complainant in the case they were investigating.

In a recorded interview on the night of his arrest in July 2020, Day maintained that Sebastian owed him money too and questioned why his former client hadn’t been “picked up for fraud”.

“Any money I hold of Guy’s, I say is mine, and is only a fraction of what he owes me,” Day said in the interview. “He terminated my contract and didn’t pay me commissions.”

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Day also referenced an AVO he had taken out against Sebastian after he received a phone call from a blocked number in May 2020 which said, “Guy Sebastian wants you f—ed.” Sebastian was questioned about the call in court and denied having anything to do with it.

In his summing up to the jury, the judge said the Crown had to prove Day’s actions were fraudulent, and that his apparent failure to transfer funds to Sebastian was not simply a mistake or an oversight.

Day’s barrister Dominic Toomey, SC, echoed this, telling the jury that Day managed complex transactions for up to 30 clients in the same account.

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