Guy Sebastian was “evasive” in his testimony, and some of the arguments made in his former manager’s trial should be ignored, the court was told.
Guy Sebastian acted evasively when he testified in his former manager’s embezzlement case, and parts of the prosecutor’s closing appeal to the jury should be ignored, the court was told.
Titus Day, 49, has pleaded not guilty to a series of charges related to alleged embezzlement of nearly $900,000 in royalties, performances and ambassador income, which the singer says he is owed.
After a six-week trial in the District of New South Wales, Mr Day’s lawyer Dominic Toomey began his final address to the jury on Friday.
Mr. Toomey told the court to approach everything Mr. Sebastian said in court with a “very cautious eye.”
“Mr. Sebastian answered me evasively, and he was looking for the angle behind the question,” said Mr. Toomey.
“He wanted to see if this corner could… favor Mr. Day. He tried not to give any evidence that, in his opinion, could be in favor of Mr. Day.
“There was a stark difference between Mr. Sebastian’s answers to questions from the Crown and his answers to questions put to him by me.”
Mr Toomey said Mr Sebastian appeared to be able to easily answer questions put to him by the Crown, but had difficulty answering questions from Mr Day’s lawyer.
“In many cases, he (Mr. Sebastian) couldn’t remember,” Mr. Toomey said.
“He used my questions, often to continue his own narrative, not related to a topic that he was often asked about.
“He became entangled in the evidence, trying not to acknowledge the existence of an agreement between him and Mr. Day. He could not bring himself to use the word “contract” in relation to his arrangement with Mr. Day … Mr. Sebastian believed that if he recognized the existence of an agreement, it might go against his interests.
The Court was told that the police officer in charge of the investigation, Chief Constable Detective David Murphy, had a potential conflict of interest in handling the case because the report of Mr. Day’s alleged crimes was made by Mr. Sebastian in the company of his best friend Tim. Freeburn.
Mr Freeburn played cricket with PC Murphy and earlier PC Murphy had told the court that he had raised a conflict of interest verbally with a police inspector and that he was allowed to handle the case but not take evidence from Mr Freeburn due to his social connection.
Mr Toomey told the court that PC Murphy did not follow NSW Police’s conflict of interest guidelines because he did not disclose it in writing.
“We can’t know what he[PC Murphy]said to Acting Inspector McGee,” Toomey said.
“He (PC Murphy) was approached by Mr. Freeburn and Mr. Sebastian together and shortly thereafter he filed charges.
“Detective Murphy couldn’t even say with certainty that he had signed a contract before he charged Mr. Day.”
Mr. Toomey said that PC Murphy admitted that he accepted what Mr. Sebastian said about Mr. Day as “the truth of the gospel” and was “deliberately blind” by not taking several lines of inquiry that were relevant to the investigation. .
The court was told that PC Murphy was unable to make inquiries with contract lawyers or some of the organizations that Mr. Day said he paid money on Mr. Sebastian’s behalf.
Before Mr Toomey began his closing speech, Judge Tim Hartelmann SC instructed the jury and said parts of Crown Attorney David Morters’ closing speech should be ignored.
Judge Hartelmann said Mr. Morters misrepresented the evidence in parts of his speech and invited the jury to speculate on Mr. Day’s guilt.
“You can’t act on assumptions,” Judge Hartlemann told the jury.
“You must disregard all statements made by the Crown based on statements of lack of explanation.
“The defense does not bear the burden of proof at all. The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the Crown… he does not have to prove anything, he is not obliged to give any explanation.”
The trial continues.