The trial of Guy Sebastian's former manager has been delayed again after a juror suffering from a severe allergic reaction was rushed to hospital during the lunch break.
Less than a week after the case against Titus Emanuel Day commenced, NSW District Court Judge Peter Zahra was pronounced dead following a suspected stroke.
Australian Idol winner and the Crown's key witness Sebastian also tested positive for COVID-19 after beginning his evidence in the case, and recently prosecutor David Morters SC also contracted coronavirus.
Judge Timothy Gartelmann announced on Monday that he would be taking over the trial and was soon handed several notes from different members of the jury raising concerns about future commitments.
He said he would deliberate overnight once he had found out the welfare of the jury member who had recently suffered anaphylactic shock.
"I will then make a decision about whether or not it is practical for individual jurors and indeed the trial itself to continue."
Day, 49, has pleaded not guilty to 50 charges including fraudulently embezzling money allegedly owed to Sebastian through royalties and performance fees.
He also denies 50 alternative counts of larceny, or stealing.
The Australian singer previously testified that Day had promised him 10 per cent equity in his company 6 Degrees in recognition of the importance he as a "foundation client" had played in its success.
Day told Sebastian in email exchanges tendered in court that he would also be given 10 per cent ownership of Solar D, a sunscreen brand he created.
Sebastian then took on an informal ambassadorship role at Solar D, he said.
This included interviews by publications Kidspot, the Australian Financial Review, participating in a large-scale rowing event while his back was sore, and a photoshoot at Catalina Restaurant among other duties.
He didn't expect any payments for the work because the emails made clear he was part owner of the company, he said.
"There were requests for intros," and he was often asked about Day's character in relation to the company, so he gave "him a wrap".
"He's a good bloke, and I'm involved as well. There's nothing to worry about," he recalled saying.
He also recounted his foray into the European music market in about 2017, having had some success in parts of Sweden and Norway.
He thought it prudent to find an international agent to help him understand how to further his success in Germany and set up a meeting with Tessy Schulz.
Despite wanting to work directly with her, Day attended their first meeting.
"I remember feeling awkward, I really wanted to meet Tessy alone."
He was also taken to the pair's email exchanges regarding royalty payments over the years.
One email expressed Day's concerns he was not receiving commission payments from one account that directly paid fees to artists.
"My understanding was always that Titus and his wife had full visibility, they were on the portal, they had the logins," Sebastian said.
"I was doing the songwriting ... the least they could do was send an invoice."
The Crown alleges that Day - who managed Sebastian via 6 Degrees between 2009 and 2017 - embezzled Sebastian out of almost $900,000 between 2013 and 2020.
But Day's defence barrister Dominic Toomey SC said his client has an answer to every single charge, and the police were perhaps "seduced" by the entertainer's high profile.
The funeral of Judge Zahra, highly respected and one of the most senior judges on the NSW District Court is due to be held on Friday.
The trial is expected to resume before Judge Gartelmann on Tuesday morning.
Australian Associated Press
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