Guy Sebastian’s former manager has been found not guilty on three counts of embezzlement, a NSW District Court jury found, as the pair’s civil lawsuit nears completion.
Titus Day – who managed Sebastian between 2009 and 2017 – faced 50 counts of embezzlement totalling nearly $900,000, which was alleged to be owed to Sebastian in the form of royalties and performance fees. Today (June 9), Judge Timothy Gartelmann directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts for three of these counts, relating to almost $15,000.
Sydney Morning Herald reports that Gartelmann directed jurors to clear the three charges, which related specifically to royalty fees from 2014 to 2020, because “there was simply no evidence” that Day “did the act alleged to constitute any of these offences”.
While Day was acquitted of these counts, he still faces 47 additional counts of embezzlement, as well as 50 alternative larceny charges.
Referencing these outstanding alternative charges, Gartelmann foreshadowed that they too will be dropped, telling jurors that “all the alternative counts cannot succeed”.
“In due course, I will direct you to return verdicts of not guilty on these counts too,” he said.
The judge’s direction was an attempt to have the jury focus solely on the remaining embezzlement charges, asking jurors to “ignore” the alternative charges and “concentrate on the principal counts”.
Day’s acquittal is the latest development in an ongoing civil lawsuit between him and Sebastian, which was first filed by the singer in July 2018. Two years later, Sebastian approached police alleging “criminal behaviour”.
Day, who managed the Australian Idol winner via his company 6 Degrees, pleaded not guilty to both sets of embezzlement and larceny charges.
Throughout the trial, the jury has been told of an “acrimonious and hostile” break-up between the pair. Closing arguments will be made when the trial resumes on Tuesday (June 14), after which the jury will return verdicts on the remaining 47 charges.
NME has reached out to representatives for Guy Sebastian for comment.