A COURT has heard a staff member at the Imperial Hotel in Tamworth was emailed a 10-page document by Michael Ian Foxman with the expectation he would sign it or face losing his job, if the hotel closed.
Foxman appeared via video link in Tamworth Local Court for his hearing on Friday from Sydney, where he is bailed to live.
He's accused of intending to pervert the course of justice by approaching potential witnesses in another case before the court.
Imperial Hotel staff member Christopher Kelly gave evidence on Friday and told the court he had been emailed a 10-page document by Foxman in the months after an alleged sex show took place at the hotel.
He gave evidence that he did not read the document in detail before he signed it in front of a justice of the peace, and handed it over to Foxman's family member.
He said he "first saw the document" when it was emailed to him by Foxman.
"I trusted him and I cared for him because he was my boss ... I thought it was the truth and I signed it," he told the court.
The court heard the emailed document contained lengthy statements on a number of issues, including about other employees at the hotel; accusations of staff members stealing; as well as statements that related to Foxman's involvement in a sex show police allege was illegally held at the hotel in June 2019.
Mr Kelly gave evidence that it wasn't until January 2020 that he went to the police station because he had a "sick feeling" that the document he signed wasn't his words.
During cross examination, Mr Kelly admitted he did feel he had to sign the document but not because of Foxman directly.
"Did you feel that Michael Foxman was putting any pressure on you or threat of termination if you did not sign this [document]?" defence solicitor Michael Ayache asked.
"At the time he did not make the actual threat ... it was more that we would lose the hotel," Mr Kelly replied.
"The way I felt at the time, if I didn't do the affidavit to help Michael out he would lose his pub and I would lose my job."
The court heard Mr Kelly "glanced" at the document, and filled in some details such as his date of birth. A document was then sent to him with the same contents but in a new format. He took it for a solicitor to witness his signatures, and gave it to a family member of Foxman.
I trusted him and I cared for him because he was my boss ... I thought it was the truth and I signed it.Christopher Kelly
The prosecution read out parts of a police statement Mr Kelly had signed in January 2020 indicating he had felt "duress" to sign the document, though he denied using that terminology in court on Friday.
"I did not use that word at all in anything," he said.
The police statement also showed Mr Kelly told the officer Foxman had said to him that if he didn't leave the document the way Foxman wanted it, he would "get into trouble".
Mr Kelly denied saying those exact words, and told the court he meant he would lose his job if the Imperial Hotel was forced to close.
Mr Kelly gave evidence he was at the pub on the night of the sex show and was aware Foxman had asked other employees for affidavits.
He said he had spoken with Foxman that night and he had appeared "distressed" that graphic sex acts were being performed on stage.
"He come into the kitchen and told me what he told the strippers, that it wasn't supposed to be a 4X show," the court heard.
"He seemed distressed ... I have never seen [Foxman] distressed to that point."
The hearing was adjourned to September for the prosecution to call its next witness.
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