VCAT delay on Aquanita appeals
Kate Watts@katewatts_ 4:38pm
The Aquanita doping saga looks set to continue long into next season with a hearing date for the appeals of the four disqualified trainers still to be set.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal at a directions hearing on Monday for banned trainers Tony Vasil and Liam Birchley, ruled that a further directions hearing late next month was needed to deal with the subsequent appeals from Robert Smerdon and Stuart Webb.
Legal representatives for the four trainers will now come together at a further directions hearing on July 25.
The four trainers were among eight people with links to the former Aquanita Racing to be disqualified on race day treatment charges.
Jeff Gleeson QC, representing Racing Victoria Limited, suggested the joining of the four appeals, exclaiming that "we think that's sensible".
A directions hearing had been scheduled for both Smerdon and Webb's appeals on July 9 but all parties agreed to vacate this date in order to combine the four Aquanita appeals on July 25.
This extension of the directions hearings was also proposed to allow adequate time for witnesses in these cases to be summoned.
VCAT Senior Member Anna Dea said that she had granted this time because of Racing Victoria's "suggestion that witnesses might be difficult to locate or difficult to serve" in this case.
Dea also declared that applications to witness summons must be taken by July 2.
Interesting that Julian Gleeson QC and (Senior) VCAT member Anna Dea see fit to have themselves quoted in the media.
Do the legal representatives of the other side concur? Was comment sought from them?
We all know that drawing out a legal process benefits those who are not paying for legal representation out of their own pockets.
Very "empowering" being able to pay the lawyers by just instructing the Accounts Payable section to pay the bill.
If VCAT wants to be seen to be independent they should instruct people involved to keep their public mouths shut before the appeal, and perhaps consider paying for legal representation in cases where it is obvious that the costs will be ruinous to those charged.