Stephen Fletcher -- the chase continues
It can be unsettling to have someone on your case with an open cheque book to cover costs.
Court grants Racing NSW right to inspect professional punter's phone
Racing NSW has been given the green light to image the contents of the mobile phone of professional gambler Stephen Fletcher after the Supreme Court on Friday ruled stewards had the right to look for any breaches of rules of racing.
Fletcher had surrendered his phone to stewards last year during an investigation into former TAB trading manager Sally Snow. Stewards suspected he had placed bets on behalf of her and husband Nathan.
Fletcher argued Racing NSW should be restricted to data relating to the Snow matter when they imaged his phone, but the Supreme Court found stewards had more extensive powers in relation to the rules of racing.
“The information obtained from Mr Fletcher’s phone could be used by the Stewards for the purpose of any investigation or inquiry into a matter in connection with racing, including use by informing a decision to initiate an investigation or inquiry,” the court judgment read.
It also stated: “whichever way the matter is approached, Mr Fletcher by his conduct as a professional gambler bound himself to comply with the Rules of Racing of Racing NSW.”
Sally Snow refused to hand over her phone for the investigation and was warned off from all racecourses by stewards and resigned her executive position at Tabcorp.
Stewards had been waiting for the ruling to continue the investigation into the Snow matter, which was sparked when Nathan Snow applied for a syndication licence. His financial records revealed a $10,000 transfer from Fletcher into his bank account.
In evidence tabled before the NSW Supreme Court, Racing NSW reported Nathan Snow told them he contacted Fletcher to help facilitate the wagers because he wasn't allowed to bet with Tabcorp because of his wife's then employment.
Racing NSW imaged Nathan Snow's phone last January and claimed the data showed the Snows had been "in regular communication" with Fletcher "in relation to bets which they, jointly and severally, were placing through [Fletcher], including bets laid at TAB outlets."
While conceding Racing NSW had legitimate reasons for wanting to access information on his phone in regards to the investigation into the Snows, Fletcher's legal counsel argued the body could be "fishing" to find data about his broader activities to take action against him.
Stewards had not started to image Fletcher’s phone until the Supreme Court ruling. Chief steward Marc Van Gestel said the decision would allow the investigation to continue and upheld the ability for Racing NSW to protect the integrity of the sport.
“We will have a thorough look at Mr Fletcher's phone now,” Van Gestel said. “The decision upholds our rights to look for any matter that would be a breach the rules of racing.
“We have several other phones in this matter and we will continue our investigations.”