Michael Davies, the Auckland architect accused of stealing trade secrets stood silently today as he waited for the jury to deliver his fate.
Having spent the day in the cold holding cells while the jury deliberated, he was brought into court wrapped up with a scarf and wearing a puffer vest.
He listened anxiously as the foreman was asked if his jury had reached a unanimous verdict on the first of nine charges of stealing trade secrets for a pecuniary advantage.
His family and even some of his former colleagues from the firm he was accused of stealing confidential files from soon joined the courtroom.
Guilty, the foreman said eight times.
Everyone else was silent.
On the ninth charge, which related to plans for a school toilet project, Davies was found not guilty.
He showed little emotion at the verdicts, while his lawyer Guyon Foley asked Judge Eddie Paul to not enter convictions, foreshadowing a possible application for a discharge without conviction.
"I will need to take instructions," Foley said, glancing at Davies.
Judge Paul remanded Davies at large until his sentencing later this year and thanked the jury.
An architect is accused of stealing trade secrets. Today he had his say in court.
Accused architect: 'I don't know what a trade secret is'
He told them it was "difficult to take in the evidence that was delivered up to you".
Foley had earlier told the jury they had been "buried in a sea of files" during the document-heavy trial .
The 12 ordinary Kiwis, who probably started the trial with little knowledge about architecture or intellectual property, spent some two weeks listening to evidence about how Davies was guilty of stealing trade secrets from his former employer.
Crown prosecutor Sam McMullan had told them Davies lifted "thousands" of computer files from Context Architects as he left for smaller rival firm Design Partners in early 2017.
"As he left he took numerous documents - thousands of documents isn't overstating it," McMullan said.
"We don't know precisely how many files Mr Davies took ... We don't know if he took 10 files at a time or emailed other files to his Gmail account, we just don't know."
What the jury found, however, was Davies had in-fact pinched Context Architects' annual business plan, project files, and pricing models which included details of contract negotiations with Housing New Zealand.
He also took the firm's ArchiCAD computer drawing template and the project file for a high-density residential development in Albany.
All of this material, the jury decided, were trade secrets.
Some of the documents Davies had accepted he dishonestly took.
"I never had an intent that was crooked or dishonest, the act itself is, but there was never any intent," he told the court.
But the 46-year-old claimed "there was nothing secret" about the files he took for personal use, professional liability and for his own portfolio of work.
The court heard Davies had downloaded such a large volume of documents to a USB drive that it alerted Context Architects' digital security computer system.
During a single day Davies downloaded some 1600 files.
When interviewed by police after his arrest in October 2017, Davies said: "I downloaded them all for a reason ... I know I wasn't supposed to. I guess where does it go from here?"
Theft of a firm's golden egg?
When Davies' counsel gave his closing remarks to the jury last Friday, he also told the story of his missing cat.
Foley - in his own unique style - said when his pet disappeared he went looking for it.
He wondered why the founding director of Context Architects, Lisa Hinton, didn't look for her golden egg or secret recipe when it walked out her office doors.
"If it was really the golden egg, if it was really secret ... Why isn't there a policy about trade secrets if they're so secret?" Foley said.
Perhaps to gain some insight as to what way they were leaning, Davies surveyed the jury as Foley told his analogy.
When Judge Eddie Paul gave his summation of the case on Monday morning he implored the jury to keep their deliberations in context.
"When you were called for jury service you may have thought you'd get some violence, drugs – things you see in the media all the time... and yet you get this trial," he said.
"We're not talking about Tesla's or Apple's trade secrets here we are talking about a medium-level New Zealand company with offices here in Auckland and in Christchurch."
But during the trial, those in the courtroom were at times left perplexed about what a trade secret even was or meant.
"I didn't know what the definition of a trade secret is - I still don't know that I do," the English-born Davies told the court, as he spent a day and a half giving evidence.
Foley told the jury there was no way the files his client took were trade secrets.
Trade secrets, he said, were something far more important than a few project files and templates.
"Computer software and hardware used to put Neil Armstrong on the moon ... To my mind that's a trade secret isn't it?" Foley said.
"The definition has probably expanded - Kentucky Fried Chicken, Coca Cola.
"Important, confidential, commercially sensitive ... think of the words, trade secret - secret."
Fellow architect James Service, who was called as a defence witness, agreed with Foley.
When giving his opinion about the types of files Davies pinched, including the ArchiCad digital 3D modelling software, he said the "Context template does not amount to a trade secret".
Material like that, Service added, was "commonly available in the industry".
This was proof Foley argued that Context Architects were out to make an example of his client rather find alternative ways to settle the case which he said should never have made it to court.
"Two years of nightmare, yet Context are still trying to make something out of it," he said.
"This case is a civil case or an employment case at best."
Foley also accused Context Architects of leaking information about the case to the Herald.
"When you Google his name the first thing that comes up is the Herald article. Someone leaked it," Foley said.
But after discovering the alleged file heist, Context Architects' board had advised the company to make a complaint with the police, the court heard.
It led to search warrants on Davies' house and Design Partners in October 2017.
The Herald first reported the case that month, shortly after Davies was charged.
During the trial, the now guilty architect recalled the day the police came to his home.
"'Dad, the police are at the door'," Davies said, his daughter was the first to greet the officers.
After helping police during a search of his home, Davies was taken to the police station.
During the trial Davies explained some of the "out of order" questions and replies he gave, including his admission that he "downloaded them all for a reason".
"I'd just been arrested and taken to a police station, so I was a little out of sorts – worried about my daughter and unable to talk to my wife," he said.
After the case went public, Context Architects sent a cease and desist letter to Design Partners to halt any use of the allegedly stolen material, the court heard.
Hinton, who was the first Crown witness called, said the legal letter was sent because it would be "almost impossible to retrieve the files" from their competitors.
"We've never had such a large data theft before," she said.
However, Hinton also fondly remembered when Davies first joined her business.
With more than two decades of experience working on commercial, residential, hospitality, civic and naval architecture projects, she considered Davies to be a "very good architect".
The pair's interview, which was shared over some wine, led to Davies being employed as a project architect.
The Essex-raised man later became one of the leaders of Hinton's firm when he was appointed a principal architect in July 2016.
But towards the end of 2016 and start of 2017, Davies grew despondent with his role and engaged in talks to head Design Partners.
Davies told the court after being moved into a management role at Context Architects he began to hold "concerns of the imposter syndrome".
"Concerns that I'm in a position and not performing well ... I was struggling in my role as a leader at Context - just finding my place in the management team," he said.
In late 2016, Davies said he'd made the decision in his own mind to leave Context Architects.
"I started to consider what other options I had. I think in my mind I would've liked to have worked for myself as a small business."
Davies was offered the position of managing Design Partners' design practice.
"They suggested I would have the freedom to manage that business and bring in work," he said.
In April, however, Davies stepped down from his role as principal at the North Shore-based firm.
"The outcome of this trial could have an effect on the ability to do my job," he said.