Singer Guy Sebastian's former manager Titus Day will face a retrial after his convictions for alleged embezzlement were quashed due to a prosecutor making "inappropriate comments" before the jury retired.
Day managed the Australian Idol winner via his company 6 Degrees between 2009 and 2017 before their relationship ended.
He pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges alleging he embezzled almost $900,000 owed to Sebastian through royalties, performance and ambassador fees.
But a NSW District Court jury found him guilty on 34 counts of fraud in June last year, while he was acquitted on a further 13 charges.
Day was sentenced to up to four years in jail and ordered to repay about $624,000 after the verdict.
But his convictions have now been quashed by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.
His appeal successfully demonstrated a miscarriage of justice due to the closing addresses of the crown prosecutor before the jury retired to consider its verdict, the court said.
The closing address was marked by a number of inappropriate comments, including highlighting Day's "failure" to give evidence, reversing the onus of proof, the court found.
A judge in criminal trials where the accused does not give evidence typically directs a jury to focus on whether the prosecution has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Crown submissions on the appeal conceded the closing address was "marked by a number of inappropriate comments".
"The accumulation of improprieties was such that they could not be redeemed by the trial judge's ameliorative directions," the appeal court's decision, published on Wednesday afternoon said.
Setting aside his convictions and ordering a new trial was "the only available order".
The appeal was heard in June and Day was released on bail three days later, while the court considered an ultimately unsuccessful ground of appeal which would have forced Day's acquittal.
A third ground of appeal was not considered after the court concluded his appeal had already succeeded due to the closing address.
Day is due to be arraigned for a new trial in the District Court on December 15.
Australian Associated Press