Pop star Guy Sebastian diverted money from his manager but has not been accused of a criminal offense, a court has been told, with a defense barrister describing this as a “breathtaking double standard”.
Titus Day, 49, has pleaded not guilty to 47 counts of embezzlement after he allegedly failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to Sebastian for royalties and performance fees.
On Monday, Day’s barrister Dominic Toomey, SC, told the NSW District Court trial in his closing address if the jury accepted the Crown’s claims, “You would be accepting that this is a person who decided to turn to a life of crime in his 40s “.
He said his client, who had an “unblemished” record, had withheld $92,250 Sebastian had been paid by Dreamworld, but explained in an email this was for “outstanding commissions” he was owed, before listing each commission and each amount.
“At this point in time, each man was saying to the other ‘you owe me money’,” Toomey said. “Far from being dishonest about what he’s doing with the Dreamworld money, he’s saying ‘I’m keeping it, and I’m keeping it because you owe me money on these other things’.”
“There wasn’t any dispute that they were commissions Mr Day was entitled to.”
Toomey said Sebastian also withheld money when he directed that payments from a 2017 concert tour in capital cities be paid directly to him instead of Day’s management company, when he knew he was liable to pay Day commission.
“It is the most breathtaking double standard, we submit, for the Crown to say to you that when Mr Day withheld money which he was plainly owed he was acting criminally, and yet when Sebastian was having money diverted to him which he knew comprised in part money which was rightfully Mr Day’s, he was not doing anything wrong,” Toomey said. “It is the most breathtaking proposition.”