Guy Sebastian has been quizzed about an incident from his past and the circumstances surrounding a police investigation into his ex-manager.
Guy Sebastian has been grilled in court about telling people he “headbutted” an intruder who broke into his Sydney home while his wife and newborn son were asleep.
The Voice judge recalled the incident while being cross-examined at the embezzlement trial of his former manager Titus Day.
“I had a newborn who was sleeping, I was at my recording studio … I received a call from my wife about this person who was trying to get into our house through my little boy’s window and as a result I arrived home,” Mr Sebastian told the court on Tuesday.
“By the time I got home the guy trying to break in was still there. I chased after him.”
However, the court heard suggestions the singer told people different stories about what happened next.
Asked repeatedly if he headbutted the intruder, Mr Sebastian said he had not.
But he agreed with Dominic Toomey SC, who is acting for Mr Day, that’s what he told people afterwards.
“While I was holding him he was trying to grab me … elbowing and kicking me … he grabbed my [motorbike] helmet,” Mr Sebastian said.
“I’ve told people that I knocked him out … I didn’t headbutt him … I agree I’ve told people that I headbutted him.
“You’re implying I headbutted him as an intentional act but it just didn’t happen like that.”
The incident was brought up in relation to its inclusion in an Apprehended Violence Order taken out by Titus Day.
Mr Sebastian was served with the AVO application two days before he reported Mr Day to police over the embezzlement allegations.
Mr Sebastian said his former manager was trying to “weaponise” the incident by including it in his AVO.
Titus Day, 49, is on trial in the NSW District Court after he was charged with 50 counts of fraudulently embezzling about $900,000 worth of royalty, performance and ambassador payments the singer was allegedly owed.
The one-time agent to celebrities such as Grant Denyer and Sophie Monk is also fighting 50 alternative stealing charges.
Mr Sebastian gave Mr Day a large amount of control over his finances when the pair worked together between 2009 and 2017, with most of the income the singer generated going straight to Mr Day’s company 6 Degrees.
After the money came in, Mr Day was tasked with taking a prearranged amount of commission out and paying Mr Sebastian the rest.
When the pair’s relationship suffered a bitter breakdown, Mr Sebastian claimed he discovered anomalies that led him to launch Federal Court action against Mr Day in a bid to recoup money he was allegedly owed.
Mr Day responded with a cross-claim, alleging it was he who was owed money by Mr Sebastian – a claim the former Australian Idol winner and reality TV show judge denies.
Police got involved in 2020 when criminal charges were laid against Mr Day, and after a shaky start – which included the death of a judge, Covid cases and a juror being discharged after someone suffered an allergic reaction to food – the trial resumed on Tuesday.
Crown prosecutor David Morters SC asked Mr Sebastian further questions about his relationship with Mr Day.
The court was told of a heated exchange between Mr Sebastian and Mr Day in December 2017 when they met at a restaurant to “tie up loose ends”.
“The meeting took a turn,” Mr Sebastian recalled.
“Mr Day said ‘you’re gonna be paying commissions until 2022’.
“I said something to the effect of ‘it’s not backyard cricket we just don’t just make it up’. You know full well there’s no trailing commissions.”
Trailing commissions are those payable to a manager after a contract is terminated and Mr Sebastian said there were no agreement for Mr Day to be entitled to these after their relationship ended.
“Titus got quite angry, Timbo (a friend) got him to calm down,” Mr Sebastian said.
“We all walked out, it was obviously not the friendliest meeting in the end.”
Emails tendered in court showed numerous attempts by Mr Sebastian’s accountants to obtain financial documents like outstanding commission invoices from 6 Degrees that were needed to complete a 2014 tax return.
The 6 Degrees staff member either never provided the information that was being requested or said they had to “chase it up” with Mr Day, the court was told.
Mr Sebastian told the court that “it was like blood out of a stone trying to get this reconciliation from Taylor Swift” – a reference to the $494,000 Mr Day was paid on Mr Sebastian’s behalf when he acted four times as the American singer’s support act during her 2013 Australian tour.
“I had a tax bill as a result,” Mr Sebastian said.
A portion of the Taylor Swift payments owed to Mr Sebastian are among the 50 Mr Day is alleged to have embezzled.
Mr Sebastian told the court that he also found it difficult to get Mr Day to provide financial information about the multimillion-dollar You Me Us tour.
“Once again we were chasing up financial reconciliation,” Mr Sebastian said.
“Almost every tour was a nightmare I would constantly have to chase up. My accountants were having a tough time.”
The court was previously told that Mr Day suggested to Mr Sebastian that the accountants had shown “incompetence” and Mr Sebastian later started using a new accounting firm.
When questioned about $66,000 McDonald’s paid him to perform at a function in Cancun, Mr Sebastian said he was led to believe he was only owed $33,000 and no more.
“The way we found out the actual payments was through these invoice records an assistant of mine, Rebecca Oxenbould, had found in the office,” Mr Sebastian said.
Mr Day claimed $20,500 of the McDonald’s money was withheld because he and wife Courtney needed to be reimbursed “for a payment we had made on behalf of Guy to UK music promoter Solo as a fee payable for Guy to appear as a support act for the UK performer Shane Filan”.
Mr Sebastian performed in 2017 as a support act for Mr Filan, a pop singer who was a member of Irish boy band Westlife.
He said he was not told about the $20,500 fee and would never have agreed to pay to perform as a support act for another artist.
Another payment Mr Sebastian said he was not aware of related to $60,000 he collected for performing at a surprise birthday in Jakarta.
The court was told that Mr Day withheld more than $5000 from Mr Sebastian and claimed he transferred it to Tessy Schultz, a German manager, “to pay a fee due by Guy”.
Mr Sebastian told the court he “wasn’t responsible for paying Tessy Schultz”.
“The whole thing is just a stitch up,” he said.
The trial continues.