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« 2020-Jul-18, 07:31 PM Reply #50 »
Catching up with recent results from the VRT

James Forbes, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 10 July 2020 (DOCX 156.46 KB)

Phillip Dower, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 10 July 2020 (DOCX 156.1 KB)

Damien Wilson, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 8 July 2020 (DOCX 156.76 KB)

Ian Montgomery, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 8 July 2020 (DOCX 155.85 KB)

Sean Lithgow, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 6 July 2020 (DOCX 153.25 KB)

Jess Tubbs, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 2 July 2020 (DOCX 156.64 KB)

Mark Grima, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 1 July 2020 (DOCX 158.37 KB)

John Buckley, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 1 July 2020 (DOCX 156.63 KB)

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« 2020-Jul-28, 12:23 PM Reply #51 »
Four more decisions from the hard working VRT none more interesting than number 3 in the list below,


Rhys Nicholson, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 21 July 2020 (DOCX 151.28 KB)

Joe Farrugia, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 14 July 2020 (DOCX 156.08 KB)

Richard Laming, Marnu Potgieter, MD Zayaur Rahman, Racing Victoria Ruling – Preliminary Dispute, 25 June 2020 (DOCX 166.84 KB)

Cassandra Barnard, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 17 July 2020 (DOCX 158.29 KB)

The preliminary dispute to the evidence taken by the stewards in the Richard Laming, Marnu Potgieter, MD Zayaur Rahman,case is most unusual.... probably because the evidence is likely to be damaging to the licensees position..... they would benefit if it was ruled inadmissable ...unfortunately for them the learned judge ruled against excluding most of the evidence objected to ...... Damien Sheales counsel for the trainer and his stable staff had some success with parts of the evidence ruled out by the learned judge ..it'll be a free for all when the substantive hearing on the charges comes on 20th October.
Laming is still training presumably on a stay while  Potgieter is now riding in NQ presumably licensed by QRIC

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RULING – PRELIMINARY DISPUTE
RACING VICTORIA
and
MR RICHARD LAMING, MR MARNU POTGIETER & MD ZAYAUR RAHMAN

Date of hearing:      25 June 2020
Panel:   Judge John Bowman (Chairperson).
Appearances:    Mr Justin Hooper appeared on behalf of the Stewards.
Mr Damien Sheales appeared on behalf of Messrs Laming, Potgieter and Rahman.

Charges:         

AR 255 Stomach-tubing prohibited at certain times

(1)   A person must not, without the permission of the Stewards:
(a)   stomach-tube;
(b)   cause the stomach-tubing of;
(c)   attempt to stomach-tube; or
(d)   be a party to the stomach-tubing or attempted stomach-tubing of,
a horse engaged to run in a race, official trial or jump-out:
(i)   at any time on the day of the race, official trial or jump-out and prior to the start of that event; and/or
(ii)   at any time during the 1 clear day prior to 12.00am on the day of the scheduled race, official trial or jump-out.   
(2)   Provided that the stomach-tubing or attempted stomach-tubing occurred on race day or during the 1 clear day prior to 12.00am on race day for a horse engaged to run in a race on that race day, if a person breaches subrule (1) a disqualification of not less than 12 months must be imposed (other than where the person is not, in the opinion of a PRA (or a person employed or engaged by a PRA) or the Stewards, the principal offender), unless there is a finding that a special circumstance exists, in which case that penalty may be reduced.



AR 232 Failure to observe processes and directions of PRAs or Stewards
A person must not:

(c)   while the Stewards are exercising their powers, performing their functions or carrying out their duties:

(ii)   obstruct, hinder or delay the Stewards in exercising their powers, performing their functions or carrying out their duties; or
(iii)   incite any other person/s to obstruct, hinder or delay the Stewards from exercising their powers, performing their functions or carrying out their duties, or fail to prevent any other person/s on premises the Stewards have entered under AR 22(1)(l) from doing so.

Particulars:

Richard Laming – Charge 1 AR 255

1.   You are, and were at all relevant times, a trainer licensed by Racing Victoria.
2.   You are, and were at all relevant times, the trainer of Jamaican Rain. 
3.   You train from licensed premises at 1-11 Cyril Beechey Lane, Cranbourne (the Premises).
4.   On 5 November 2019, Jamaican Rain was entered to run in Race 6, the Group 3 Jim Beam Stakes over 1400 metres at Flemington Racecourse at 1:55pm (the Race). 
5.   Without the permission of the Stewards, on the morning of the Race and prior to the Stewards arriving at the Premises at approximately 8:44 am, you stomach-tubed, caused the stomach-tubing of, attempted to stomach-tube and/or were a party to the stomach-tubing or attempted stomach-tubing of Jamaican Rain at the Premises.
6.   Your conduct as described at paragraph 5 above was in breach of AR 255(1).
Richard Laming – Charge 2 AR 232

1.   You are, and were at all relevant times, a trainer licensed by Racing Victoria.
2.   You are, and were at all relevant times, the trainer of Jamaican Rain.
3.   You train from licensed premises at 1-11 Cyril Beechey Lane, Cranbourne (the Premises).
4.   You have security cameras installed throughout the Premises which record motion detection and audio activity (Unifi System). The footage captured by the Unifi System is recorded onto a Network Video Recorder (NVR) at the Premises.
5.   At approximately 7:30 am on 5 November 2019, exercising their powers as Stewards under the Rules of Racing, in particular AR 22(1)(l), Racing Victoria Stewards Mr Mark Stevens and Mr Dion Villella attended the Premises and conducted a race day inspection.
6.   At approximately 8.44 am on 5 November 2019, exercising his powers as a Steward under the Rules of Racing, in particular AR 22(1)(l), Racing Victoria Steward Mr Mark Stevens attended the Premises and conducted a further race day inspection (Second Inspection).
7.   Shortly after Mr Stevens’ arrival at the Premises for the Second Inspection, he commenced an investigation into the potential race day treatment of Jamaican Rain (Investigation). The Investigation was an exercise of the Stewards’ powers pursuant to the Rules of Racing, in particular AR 20(a) and AR 22(1)(a).
8.   During the Investigation, at approximately 10:30 am on 5 November 2019, the NVR was collected from the Premises by the Stewards.
9.   On 5 November 2019, prior to the NVR being collected from the Premises by the Stewards, you deleted, or incited another person to delete, files from the NVR. 
10.   Your conduct, as set out above in paragraph 9, was in breach of AR 232(c).     
MD Marnu Potgieter – Charge 1 AR 255   
1.   You are, and were at all relevant times, a stable employee registered by Racing Victoria and employed by licensed trainer, Mr Richard Laming.
2.   Mr Laming is, and was at all relevant times, the trainer of Jamaican Rain.
3.   Mr Laming trains from licensed premises at 1-11 Cyril Beechey Lane, Cranbourne (the Premises).
4.   On 5 November 2019, Jamaican Rain was entered to run in Race 6, the Group 3 Jim Beam Stakes over 1400 metres at Flemington Racecourse at 1:55pm (the Race). 
5.   Without the permission of the Stewards, on the morning of the Race and prior to the Stewards arriving at the Premises at approximately 8:44 am, you stomach-tubed, attempted to stomach-tube and/or were a party to the stomach-tubing or attempted stomach-tubing of Jamaican Rain at the Premises.
6.   Your conduct as described at paragraph 5 above was in breach of AR 255(1).

MD Zayaur Rahman – Charge 1 AR 255
1.   You are, and were at all relevant times, a stable employee registered by Racing Victoria and employed by licensed trainer, Mr Richard Laming.
2.   Mr Laming is, and was at all relevant times, the trainer of Jamaican Rain.
3.   Mr Laming trains from licensed premises at 1-11 Cyril Beechey Lane, Cranbourne (the Premises).
4.   On 5 November 2019, Jamaican Rain was entered to run in Race 6, the Group 3 Jim Beam Stakes over 1400 metres at Flemington Racecourse at 1:55pm (the Race). 
5.   Without the permission of the Stewards, on the morning of the Race and prior to the Stewards arriving at the Premises at approximately 8:44 am, you were a party to the stomach-tubing or attempted stomach-tubing of Jamaican Rain.
6.   Your conduct as described at paragraph 5 above was in breach of AR 255(1)(d).
Pleas:    Reserved in each case

GENERAL BACKGROUND
This application comes before me by way of a preliminary dispute as to whether certain documents and material proposed to be placed before the Tribunal by the Stewards at the ultimate hearing currently listed to commence on 26 October 2020 should be excluded. Oral submissions were made by Mr Damien Sheales of counsel, representing Messrs Laming, Potgieter and Rahman, in support of a proposed order that the material in question be excluded. Ms Amy Wood of counsel, representing the Stewards, resisted the making of such an order. The dispute involves questions of admissibility of evidence, this intern involving questions of law or mixed fact and law.
The case itself concerns the alleged breach of AR255 by all three persons charged. This in turn relates to alleged stomach tubing of Jamaican Rain on the morning of 5 November 2019, on which day it was to run in the Jim Beam Stakes at Flemington. Mr Laming, who was the trainer of Jamaican Rain, is also charged with a breach of AR232 – in essence, hindering or obstructing the Stewards in the exercising of their powers. Messrs Potgieter and Rahman, employees of Mr Laming, are only charged with the stomach tubing offence.
Thus, this preliminary hearing is a dispute which concerns proposed evidence to be adduced by the Stewards, inherent in which is consideration of the Tribunal’s powers to exclude same and of the issue of whether such power should be exercised.


STATUTORY PROVISIONS
The relevant provisions of the Racing Act 1958 (the Act) concerning the operation of this Tribunal include the following, to be found in Section 50Q:
“(h) must act fairly and according to the substantial merits of the matter;
(i) is bound by the rules of natural justice;
(j) is not bound by the rules of evidence or any practices of procedures applicable to courts of record, except to the extent that it adopts those rules, practices or procedures; and

(k) may inform itself on any matter as it sees fit”.
SOME OBSERVATIONS AS TO THE OPERATION AND APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE IN PRACTICE
Perhaps the starting point is the well-known statement of Evatt J. in R v War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal: Ex parte Bott 50 CLR 58 that the rules of evidence should not simply be ignored because they “represent the attempts made, through many generations, to evoke a method of enquiry best calculated to prevent error and elicit truth”.
True it is that Evatt J. was dissenting generally  but that general approach has since been considered and at least in part adopted in appropriate circumstances – see, for example, the discussion in Pires v DibbsBarker Canberra Pty Limited [2014] ACTSC 283. It and other cases are discussed in the helpful article “Tribunals not bound by the laws of evidence” by Stephen Warne on “The Australian Professional Liability Blog”. I would also refer to such texts as “Natural Justice”, by Flick and “Pizer’s Annotated VCAT Act” by Pizer and Nekvapil.
In Rodriguez v Telstra Corporation Ltd. (2002) 66 ALD 579, Kiefel J. made the observation that decisions (of the type being discussed) must not be made without evidence having probative force, inferences must not be drawn without evidence and the tribunal must not base its conclusion on its own view of a matter which requires evidence. A corollary of this is that tribunal members are not to carry out their own investigations and take into account evidence other than that put before them.
In addition, regard should be had to what was said by Brennan J. in Re Pochi and Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (1979) 26 ALR 247. Rules of evidence which have been excluded expressly by the Stewards should not be allowed to creep back through a domestic procedural rule.
However, in the present case and, as set out above, Section 50Q(1)(j) of the Act specifically contains the words “except to the extent that it adopts those rules (of evidence), practices or procedures (applicable to courts of record)”.
From my experience, whilst strict application of the laws of evidence is not appropriate in cases heard by a disciplinary body or administrative tribunal, the degree of assistance which such laws can provide varies. That assistance tends to be much greater in a large case, such as the present, where each side is represented by experienced and competent counsel, as compared to a small case involving unqualified representatives or litigants in person.
The bottom line is that, as stated in Pires,:
“…the underlying principles of fairness, natural justice, reliance on credible and relevant evidence which underpin those rules remain applicable. The approach is to be determined from the circumstances of the precise case”.
THE APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE TO THE PRESENT DISPUTE
As stated, in the present disciplinary dispute I am fortunate to have before me experienced and very competent counsel. This enables me to take an approach closer to that of a court of record, should that be necessary. However, it does not mean that I am to adopt strict rules concerning the admissibility or interpretation of documentary evidence.
Mr Sheales has objected to a considerable number of documents contained in what could be described as the Stewards’ court book of proposed evidence, effectively claiming that they are inadmissible. In virtually every instance, the basis of the objection is that the documents concerned, and the proposed evidence involved, consist of no more than speculation. That is particularly so in relation to what Mr Sheales described as “the boots issue” – essentially a footprint or “boot print” found in a stall in the relevant part of Mr Laming’s stables.
It may be that, ultimately, some speculation is involved in “the boots issue”. It is also possible  that the weight to be attached to the documentary and other evidence concerning such issue turns out to be virtually zero. However, bearing in mind the above discussion as to the principles involved, I am not prepared to strike out or rule inadmissible these documents. They are simply documents and photographs which may or may not carry any evidentiary weight, depending on how the hearing unfolds. Their alleged evidentiary value has been asserted. Providing that at the hearing there is no attempt to introduce some surprise evidence in relation to them (which seems unlikely and would probably provoke an application for an adjournment), I do not see why they should be excluded from evidence at this stage.
The above ruling concerning “the boots issue” takes care of 10 of the 14 photographs or documents ultimately in dispute.
I turn now to the remainder. The first of these relates to the report of Dr Grace Forbes, veterinary surgeon. The Stewards agree that certain paragraphs – namely, paragraphs 30 – 34 inclusive – do not require any argument and can be deleted from the evidence. However, one sentence in paragraph 29 remains in dispute. In essence, Dr Forbes has stated that the fact that the person handling Jamaican Rain is seen in a photograph and video to have a windsucking strap in his hand may be consistent with replacing, removing or refitting the horse’s rug and windsucking collar.
Mr Sheales has submitted that this is just speculation that does not require expertise and that the photographs “show what they show”. Ms Wood has argued that the significance of the windsucking strap is something that Dr Forbes can and ought to give evidence about.
In this instance, essentially I agree with Mr Sheales. The observation of Dr Forbes is hardly conclusive – “may be consistent with” – and does not read as a useful piece of expert evidence. It may be that some expansion upon it based upon the experience and expertise of Dr Forbes may render it both admissible and of assistance to the Tribunal. However, in its present form, the observation is indeed speculative, and, on face value, not a matter requiring expert evidence. To give an example, one would not need an expert tailor to give evidence as to whether a person in the street with an overcoat over his or her arm on a day when rain had just ceased had recently taken it off.
In summary, I am of the view that the sentence in question should be excluded, but I am not ruling that this topic cannot be the subject of further evidence and examination at the hearing.
The next objection, also based on speculation, concerns a proposition put by a Steward, Mr Villella, to one of those charged, namely Mr Rahman. It effectively enquires as to the state of mind of another person charged, Mr Potgieter, at the time of certain behaviour by him. Mr Sheales argued that this is sheer speculation and an enquiry or observation that should not form part of the evidence contained in the interview. Ms Wood submitted that the particular question should not be viewed in isolation and was part of a line of enquiry as to why Mr Potgieter had left so unexpectedly, bearing in mind the presence of the stomach tubing equipment.
In my opinion, this line of questioning is quite appropriate and, whilst the wording of the question under consideration is not ideal, it is part of a line of enquiry concerning the allegedly sudden and unexpected departure of Mr Potgieter and the alleged cessation of his activities. As stated, the wording may not be perfect, but the topic is certainly potentially relevant and admissible. It seems to me that the statement or question of Mr Villella is something that can be explored at the ultimate hearing, but, when seen in context, should remain in evidence at this stage.
The next objection concerns the interview of Ms Sarah Francis, stablehand, by the Stewards. In my opinion, the questions and answers to which objection is taken are admissible. Essentially, it is questioning concerning the possible use and location of a bucket. It seems to me to be potentially relevant. Ms Francis is a stablehand employed by Mr Laming. Of course, the relevance and weight to be attached to her answers can be the subject of submissions and of further questioning at the ultimate hearing. However, I am not prepared to exclude the questions and answers to which objection has been taken at this stage.
That leaves the objection to parts of the interview of Mr Potgieter concerning the horse having a dripping nose and the possible attempted drenching of it. Again, at this stage, the questions and answers in relation to this seem to me to be admissible. As pointed out by Ms Wood, Mr Potgieter is the assistant trainer. These seem to me to be legitimate matters for the Stewards to pursue, and that includes the colour of substances found in and around the floor of the stables and buckets. Again, the weight to be attached to this evidence seems to me to be a matter to be dealt with at the hearing. Potentially, it could be relevant, and I am not prepared to rule at this stage that it be excluded.
I believe that I have dealt with the aspects of the potential evidence that were in dispute. I would again refer to the earlier discussion concerning evidence and the like at a disciplinary hearing (as this upcoming hearing will be), bearing in mind the statutory provisions and at least some of the relevant decisions and material.



Mark Howard
Registrar, Victorian Racing Tribunal



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« 2020-Aug-04, 07:10 PM Reply #52 »
Kenneth Mitchell, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 24 July 2020 (DOCX 160.09 KB)

Dennis Pulis, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 23 July 2020 (DOCX 153.43 KB)

Austin Mifsud, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 22 July 2020 (DOCX 153.84 KB)

Unacceptable drive suspended 4 meetings.


"A useful test in this regard is whether the knowledgeable harness racing spectator might be expected to exclaim words to the effect of ‘What on earth is he doing’ or ‘My goodness, look at that’ – see the New South Wales decision of McMullen.

We are comfortably satisfied that a knowledgeable spectator would have used such words when you again urged your horse forward, applying the whip, between the 1200 metre mark and approximately the 1000 metre mark. The horse had not had an easy run. There was still a lap to go. You were being challenged strongly for the lead. However, rather than taking a sit, you commenced to drive vigorously once more. "

Politically correct terms attributed to the knowledgeable spectator if those who were on this one more likely to be saying WTF is this moron doing. :chair:

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« Last Edit: 2020-Aug-04, 07:18 PM by Arsenal »

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« 2020-Aug-16, 01:28 PM Reply #53 »
Current decisions
2020

    Lyndon Hall, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing on the papers, 12 August 2020 (DOCX 155.9 KB)

    Michelle Mallia, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 7 August 2020 (DOCX 160.1 KB)

    Peter Parr, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 31 July 2020 (DOCX 158.07 KB)

    Maria Musselwhite, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 31 July 2020 (DOCX 153 KB)

    Laura Lafferty, Racing Victoria Appeal, 31 July 2020 (DOCX 153.14 KB)

    Ben Divirgilio, Rinaldo Divirgilio & Chris Scanlan, Greyhound Racing Victoria Adjournment Ruling, 30 July 2020 (DOCX 152.42 KB)


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« 2020-Aug-26, 09:51 PM Reply #54 »
VRT Decision Martyn Empson Hearing 14 August 2020 (DOCX 156.79 KB)

VRT Decision Louie Biccheri Hearing 14 August 2020 (DOCX 158.62 KB)

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« 2020-Sep-21, 07:46 PM Reply #55 »
Quite a few decisions to catch up on from the hard working VRT.......The case of McDonald is an interesting one he was disqualified for 20 years with 10 years suspended for live baiting in 2015 ..since then he has been a regular patron at race meetings ...5 years later RVL found out and disqualified him for the same period to coincide with the original sentence ...but in doing so RVL neglected to give  him a show cause notice thus denying him procedural fairness ........this hearing is an appeal against RVL's decision to disqualify him from attending race meetings ......to cut a long story short the learned judge upheld the appeal against penalty and imposed a period of suspension which allows McDonald to attend race meetings as a spectator and bet to his heart's delight to 2025.



    Darren McDonald, Racing Victoria Appeal, 14 September 2020 (DOCX 178.05 KB)
    Aaron Farley, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 11 September 2020 (DOCX 159.86 KB)
    Shane Jack, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 11 September 2020 (DOCX 153.02 KB)
    Liam Riordan, Racing Victoria Appeal, 9 September 2020 (DOCX 155.12 KB)
    Joe Bajada, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 7 September 2020 (DOCX 165.91 KB)
    Michael Walker, Racing Victoria Appeal, 4 September 2020 (DOCX 156.28 KB)
    Michael Poy, Racing Victoria Appeal, 4 September 2020 (DOCX 154.93 KB)
    Darren Kee, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 4 September 2020 (DOCX 156.83 KB)
    Hugh Cathels, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 3 September 2020 (DOCX 157.1 KB)
    Ross Graham, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 1 September 2020 (DOCX 156.94 KB)
    Gary Joske, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 28 August 2020 (DOCX 157.79 KB)
    Gregory/Tyson Burns, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 27 August 2020 (DOCX 160.67 KB)
    Braden Finn, Greyhound Racing Victoria Ruling, 25 August 2020 (DOCX 163.3 KB)


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« 2020-Oct-08, 10:29 AM Reply #56 »
Melham cleared on Singapore bet RACENET Report
Melham cleared on Singapore bet


Ben Melham has been cleared on a charge of betting in Singapore. Pictu Getty Images
Leo Schlink
Article Author

7:28PM07 October 2020
2 Comments

Ben Melham has been cleared on one of seven alleged betting charges after the Victorian Racing Tribunal found Australian rules of racing do not explicitly prevent a local jockey punting overseas.

In arriving at his decision, Judge John Bowman said “Mr Melham’s behaviour in placing the bets occurred in Australia, but the races involved did not.”

“He is a person licensed in this country and thus subject to these Rules, as discussed above,” Judge Bowman said.

“If, whilst he was in Singapore but still licensed here, he placed bets on Australian races (assuming that such can be done), that would seem to me, prima facie, to be a breach of the Rule.

“However, to state the obvious, that is the opposite of what occurred.

“The Rule under consideration, like many other Rules, is designed to protect the integrity of Australian racing, not Singaporean racing.

VRC St Leger

Ben Melham had a win at the Victorian Racing Tribunal in his fight against alleged betting charges. Pictu Getty Images

 

“It does so by prohibiting jockeys from betting on Australian racing or being seen in Australian betting rings.

“Absent clear wording to the contrary, that seems to me to be the way in which the Rule is intended to operate and does in fact operate. Thus, I am of the opinion that Charge 5 is not a valid charge within the meaning of AR 115 (1) (c).”

The VRT is yet to consider the remaining six charges against Melham.

Judge Bowman’s judgment also contained an apology for jockey Liam Riordan, who was given a suspended six-month sentence in 2016 for placing a $20 bet at Deauville.

“Obviously, I am now of the view that such a decision was incorrect,” Judge Bowman said.

“All I can say in my own and the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary board’s defence is that it was a plea of ‘guilty’ and no jurisdictional issues or other technical arguments were advanced. In any event, l apologise to Mr Riordan.”

In another ruling, Richard Laming was found not guilty of administering or causing to be administered cobalt to Iam Ekstraordinary at Ballarat on May 23, 2018.

The VRT said there was “no evidence Mr Laming even knew of the injection being administered.”
Related Topics: Jockeys VIC

ENDS


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« 2020-Oct-15, 07:11 PM Reply #57 »
More decisions from the VRT

•  Lui Forte, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 6 October 2020 (DOCX 153.96 KB)
•  Melissa Forte, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 6 October 2020 (DOCX 163.76 KB)
•  Joshua Moody, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 5 October 2020 (DOCX 156.96 KB)
•  Craig Trickett, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 2 October 2020 (DOCX 158.46 KB)
•  Dallas Massina, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 30 September 2020 (DOCX 157.13 KB)
•  Marcus Lloyd, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 29 September 2020 (DOCX 156.15 KB)
•  Gary Lane, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 21 September 2020 (DOCX 153.38 KB)
•  Mark Sues, Racing Victoria Hearing, 16 September 2020 (DOCX 171.42 KB)

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« 2020-Oct-20, 09:39 AM Reply #58 »
They earn their fees the hard working VRT members more decisions released for public consumption..

Current decisions
2020

    James Theodotou, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 9 October 2020 (DOCX 159.65 KB)

    Dean Yendall, Racing Victoria Appeal, 9 October 2020 (DOCX 153.97 KB)

    Daryl Douglas, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 8 October 2020 (DOCX 154.44 KB)

    Amanda Scott, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 7 October 2020 (DOCX 157.03 KB)

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« 2020-Oct-30, 12:01 PM Reply #59 »
repeat unnecessary  :shy:
« Last Edit: 2020-Oct-30, 12:05 PM by Arsenal »

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« 2020-Oct-30, 01:41 PM Reply #60 »
Andrew Vozlic, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 21 October 2020 (DOCX 160.81 KB)

Robert Palmer, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 20 October 2020 (DOCX 159.65 KB)

Jason Formosa, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 16 October 2020 (DOCX 154.7 KB)

Colin Baker, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 15 October 2020 (DOCX 159.9 KB)

Paul Rowse, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 15 October 2020 (DOCX 154.65 KB)


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« 2020-Nov-15, 05:52 PM Reply #61 »

Kerrin McEvoy, Racing Victoria Appeal, 9 November 2020 (DOCX 164.58 KB)

James Ennis, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 30 October 2020 (DOCX 160.71 KB)

Ian Anderson, Greyhound Racing Victoria, Ruling, 22 October 2020 (DOCX 161.24 KB)

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« 2020-Dec-03, 10:14 AM Reply #62 »
DECISION
HARNESS RACING VICTORIA
and
ALEX ASHWOOD

Date of hearing:      27 November 2020
Panel:   Justice Shane Marshall (Deputy Chairperson) and Mr Robert Abrahams.   
Appearances:    Mr Shane Larkins appeared on behalf of the Stewards.
Mr Damian Sheales appeared on behalf of Mr Ashwood. 

Charge:    Australian Harness Racing Rule 149(2) states “A person shall not drive in a manner which in the opinion of the stewards is unacceptable”.

Particulars of charge:   The particulars of the charge being, in that after racing four wide into the first turn, you elected to remain in that position for such distance until leaving the 1200m mark in a first quarter which was recorded in 27.5 seconds. As a consequence, Heaven Attracts then raced without cover until the 800m when Kissmelvis improved in advance of that runner. Heaven Attracts then tired badly to be beaten 104m at the conclusion of the race.

Plea:             Not Guilty


DECISION

1.   On 22 July 2020, Mr Ashwood was the driver of the horse “Heaven Attracts” in race 7 at the Shepparton harness racing meeting.

2.   The Stewards conducted an inquiry into the drive of Mr Ashwood. At the conclusion of the inquiry they charged him with a breach of Rule 149(2) of the Rules of harness racing. Mr Ashwood pleaded not guilty. The Stewards found him guilty and suspended his licence for 3 weeks. He now appeals to the Tribunal against the finding of guilt and against the severity of the penalty.

3.   Rule 149(2) provides that “A person shall not drive in a manner which in the opinion of the Stewards is unacceptable”.

4.   In order for an appeal against a decision made under Rule 149(2) to succeed it must be shown that the decision of the Stewards was not reasonably open to them. The professional assessment of the Stewards must be open to serious challenge for the appeal to succeed. It is not for the Tribunal merely to substitute its view of how a horse was driven for that of the Stewards. For the appeal to succeed the Tribunal is required on the evidence before it to find that the decision of the Stewards was not one which was reasonably available to them.

5.   In written submissions filed on behalf of the Stewards it was stated that:

“The essence of the Stewards case is that Mr Ashwood adopted tactics throughout the course of the race which did not allow his horse to continue to compete throughout, by running fast times when very wide for the first 600 (metres), which simply was beyond the reasonably exposed capabilities of his drive”.

6.   From the replay of the race the following can be seen:

(a)   Heaven Attracts started from barrier 7.
(b)   The horse raced wide into the first turn.
(c)   The horse remained four wide at a fast tempo for several hundred metres.
(d)   At the 1400 metre mark Mr Ashwood had the opportunity to ease back with cover rather than to press forward four wide.
(e)   Having chosen not to restrain the horse Mr Ashwood was trapped four wide by the aggressive driving of other drivers seeking to hold their positions.
(f)   Heaven Attracts dropped out of the race alarmingly at the 600 metre mark and was beaten by 104 metres.

7.   Stewards submit that Mr Ashwood had a choice to make at the 1400 metre mark, either to come back and allow his horse to compete during the whole race or to drive aggressively forward. He choose to drive aggressively from the 1400 metre mark to the 1200 metre mark.

8.   Counsel for Mr Ashwood contended that the trainer of the horse and Mr Ashwood had a plan to drive the horse aggressively and considered that the horse performed better when that happened.

9.   Mr Ashwood believed that the ultimate winner (Didn’t I) would lead and that Heaven Attracts would come across with him. However, two horses kicked up on Mr Ashwood’s inside forcing him four wide. This resulted in the horse travelling wider than expected for up to 150 metres.

10.   Mr Ashwood enacted plan B and pushed forward into the death seat and still considered the horse to be “thereabouts” and racing aggressively “under its own steam”.

11.   Counsel contended that the early speed for the race was not objectively fast.

12.   On the day after the race the horse was examined by a veterinarian who diagnosed an “inflammatory airway disease” and said that the disease was “the likely cause for poor performance”.

13.   Counsel also referred to the fact that horse had performed well when driven aggressively at its subsequent 3 starts.

14.   The Stewards contend that the recorded sectional time for the first quarter of the race was objectively fast and indeed 1.4 second faster than the 5 year average.

15.   The Stewards submit that as Heaven Attracts raced 4 wide for 500 metres, a reasonably minded harness racing observer would question what the driver was doing.

16.   The Stewards observed that Heaven Attracts recent runs have been in significantly lesser grades and the horse made slower times.

17.   The Steward’s veterinarian did not detect any illness in the horse in the aftermath of the event. They say that there is no evidence that inflammatory airway disease was present on the day of the event. They argue that Mr Ashwood made a deliberate effort to race forward and failed to adopt tactics which would have assisted the horse by taking cover.

18.   In our opinion the decision of the Stewards was reasonably open to them. Mr Ashwood pushed forward for 500 metres longer than necessary at a relatively fast pace. It was no surprise that the horse was spent by the time it reached the 600 metre mark. The drive would look questionable from the viewpoint of an independent observer.

19.   Counsel for Mr Ashwood contended that Heaven Attracts was not well on the night and that affected its performance. The horse was examined by a veterinarian on the night after the race and no abnormality was discovered. A subsequent examination by another veterinarian disclosed an illness affecting the horse’s airways. This evidence does not contradict the evidence that on the night no abnormality was discovered.

20.   We also reject the submission on behalf of Mr Ashwood that Heaven Attracts was capable of working hard from the start in order to perform well. The evidence concerning other performances of the horse does not conclusively support that conclusion.

21.   We dismiss the appeal. Nothing was put to us to take issue with the penalty imposed by the Stewards. The three week penalty stands. The penalty shall start at midnight on 6 December 2020. 


Mark Howard
Registrar, Victorian Racing Tribunal

ENDS

Watching the replay the horse had a hard run for a short distance but after getting the death seat it was relegated to one one but couldn't keep up finished tailed off I don't blame him for his appeal  pity the vet report didn't reveal the horse's infection on the day.
What you need to do to win an appeal ..........]In order for an appeal against a decision made under Rule 149(2) to succeed it must be shown that the decision of the Stewards was not reasonably open to them. The professional assessment of the Stewards must be open to serious challenge for the appeal to succeed. It is not for the Tribunal merely to substitute its view of how a horse was driven for that of the Stewards. For the appeal to succeed the Tribunal is required on the evidence before it to find that the decision of the Stewards was not one which was reasonably available to them.

Maybe the not blameworthy excuse ...an error of judgment .....hasn't been heard of in Victoria .



Alex Ashwood, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 27 November 2020 (DOCX 162.49 KB)
•  Donna Dean, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 20 November 2020 (DOCX 161.32 KB)
•  Nicole Lund, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 19 November 2020 (DOCX 160.04 KB)
•  Matthew Marshall, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 18 November 2020 (DOCX 160.45 KB)
•  Alan Tharle, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 13 November 2020 (DOCX 158.16 KB)
•  Matthew Clark, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 11 November 2020 (DOCX 156.28 KB)
•  Bradley Costello, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 11 November 2020 (DOCX 156.74


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« 2021-Jan-28, 09:44 AM Reply #63 »
Updating decisions of the very busy VRT since last time.

https://djpr.vic.gov.au/priority-industries-sectors/racing/victorian-racing-tribunal/victorian-racing-tribunal-decisions

Ben Melham & Karlie Dales, Racing Victoria Hearing, 21, 22, 23 December 2020 (DOCX 161.78 KB)

Ben Melham & his partner Karlie Dales' decision above Ben got 5 months

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« 2021-Feb-24, 06:42 PM Reply #64 »
Updating decisions of the hard working VRT  there are quite a number not previously posted .....no doubt the VRT get through their cases in reasonably quick time not like the dead pool that applies in QLD with QCAT under staffed and over worked ...... with the guvment lacking in willpower to introduce a workable system along the lines of Victoria and NSW......   submissions on a review of the current appeals process closed ages ago :chair:

https://djpr.vic.gov.au/priority-industries-sectors/racing/victorian-racing-tribunal/victorian-racing-tribunal-decisions

I have extracted the decision to confirm Jarrod McLeans 3 year DQ for EPO offences ...there are further charges of alleged criminal activity which are still to be heard and determined. 


DECISION

Mr Jarrod McLean, you have pleaded guilty to a breach of AR 244(i) and of AR 250 (a). Two alternative charges drop away accordingly.

The breach of AR 244(i) is a particularly serious offence. The Rule involves the administration of a prohibited substance. The prohibited substance involved is recombinant human erythrupten, or EPO. The substance was administered to the horse Cat’s Fun, trained by you, over a period of time. Administering EPO is a particularly serious offence. It can have a dramatic effect upon a horse. The administration of it has no purpose other than to effect performance. Apart from damaging the concept of a level playing field, there are associated risks to the welfare of horses and jockeys. There is no excuse for its administration. The injection of it, as occurred here, requires a wilful act – a wilful attempt to obtain an unfair advantage without regard to risk or welfare.

The breach of AR 250(a) concerns EPO also and the same basic facts. It is a charge of possession, as opposed to administration. It is also a very serious offence, but ranks below the actual administration.

Turning to your situation, you are currently stood down as a trainer and have so been since October 2019. You face criminal charges in relation to racing matters and you are contesting those charges. You face further charges in relation to racing. You have been stood down for some time, essentially awaiting disposal of the criminal matters.

Since being stood down as a trainer, you have been working on a waste disposal truck. You have also had employment in a restaurant. You have fallen a long way from the position of a very successful trainer.

We accept that the financial pressures which you are under have caused you stress and pressure. You have sold off such things as horse trucks and floats. You have sold all your training gear. Your training establishment lies idle and may well have to be sold. You are receiving assistance from a psychologist.

You are a married man with a family of three children. We appreciate the strain that all of this must have placed upon you all. However, you brought it all upon yourself and now must wear the consequences.

Further, you have a very poor record. You have twice been put out by the Stewards. On 30 August 2013 you were disqualified for 6 months in relation to the prohibited substance TC02. The other offence related to false and misleading statements and for that you received a penalty of a little over 6 weeks suspension. You have also committed various other offences of a lesser nature. All in all, your record is, as stated, very poor.

Via their counsel, Mr Dinelli, and those instructing him, the Stewards have sought a period of disqualification of three years for the breach of AR 244(1). They have sought a penalty of two to two and a half years on the breach of AR 250(a), concurrent with the penalty for the breach of AR 244(1). The only like case involving EPO that was put before us involved a period of disqualification of three years, although the factual background had considerable differences.

Through your counsel, Mr Gullaci, you have indicated that you do not contest these proposed penalties. Obviously, we are not bound by what is in essence the agreed penalties. However, we do take this agreement into consideration. In particular, we note that those are the penalties sought by the Stewards. We appreciate that obviously there has been considerable discussion between the parties.

We repeat that we are not bound by this agreement. Ultimately, the penalties to be imposed a matter for us. However, particularly bearing in mind the attitude of the Stewards and the competence and experience of their legal representatives, we accept and adopt their suggested penalties.

On the charge of a breach of AR 244(1), you are disqualified for a period of three years, commencing immediately.

On the charge of a breach of AR 250(a), you are disqualified for a period of two years, such period of disqualification to be concurrent with the penalty for the breach of AR 244(i).

Mark Howard
Registrar, Victorian Racing Tribunal

ENDS
Giddy Up :beer
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« 2021-Mar-22, 03:08 PM Reply #65 »
Alfio Grasso, Harness Racing Victoria Ruling, 18 February 2021 (DOCX 158.68 KB)

Nathan Jack, Mark Pitt, Russell Jack and Tammy Gibbons, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 12 February 2021
(DOCX 164.59 KB)

Reece Moore, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 11 February 2021 (DOCX 159.65 KB)

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« 2021-Apr-13, 09:01 PM Reply #66 »
Current decisions
2021

    David Burnett, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 26 March 2021 (DOCX 177.4 KB)
    Melanie Lithgow, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 25 March 2021 (DOCX 176.04 KB)
    Sean Lithgow, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 25 March 2021 (DOCX 176.4 KB)
    Barry Mills, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 24 March 2021 (DOCX 175.9 KB)
    Braden Finn, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 23 March 2021 (DOCX 166.15 KB)
    Mario Briganti, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 23 March 2021 (DOCX 175.81 KB)
    Terry French, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 22 March 2021 (DOCX 177.03 KB)
    David Willcocks, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 22 March 2021 (DOCX 175.96 KB)
    Lisa Miles, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 19 March 2021 (DOCX 177.28 KB)
    Craig Webb, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 18 March 2021 (DOCX 181.54 KB)
    Kerryn Manning, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 17 March 2021 (DOCX 177.23 KB)
    Shane Keating, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 17 March 2021 (DOCX 177.98 KB)
    Rhys Nicholson, Harness Racing Victoria Appeal, 16 March 2021 (DOCX 178.9 KB)
    Kathryn Medcraft, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 15 March 2021 (DOCX 168.18 KB)
    Cameron Medcraft, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 15 March 2021 (DOCX 166.71 KB)
    Peter Terry, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 12 March 2021 (DOCX 174.49 KB)
    Clinton Capuano, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 12 March 2021 (DOCX 173.25 KB)
    John Mangion, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 11 March 2021 (DOCX 178.76 KB)
    Pia Triaca, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 10 March 2021 (DOCX 1164.93 KB)
    Alfio Grasso, Harness Racing Victoria Hearing, 10 March 2021 (DOCX 158.77 KB)
    Ryan Duffy, Harness Racing Victoria Appeals (5), 2 March 2021 (DOCX 160.4 KB)
    Matthew Marshall, Greyhound Racing Victoria Appeal, 1 March 2021 (DOCX 157.08 KB)
    Colin O’Donnell, Greyhound Racing Victoria Hearing, 18 February 2021 (DOCX 169.09 KB)
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« 2021-Apr-27, 08:10 PM Reply #67 »
Updating recent decisions of the VRT 

https://djpr.vic.gov.au/victorian-racing-tribunal/decisions-and-reasons

Recommended reading is the Archie Alexander decision.

Archie Alexander, Racing Victoria Ruling, 15 March 2021 (DOCX 173.19 KB)


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« 2021-May-24, 07:18 PM Reply #68 »

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« 2021-Jul-20, 05:13 PM Reply #69 »
Strange there aren't any decisions listed on the VRT website since 30 June . :o

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« 2021-Aug-13, 08:11 PM Reply #70 »

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« 2021-Aug-19, 10:19 PM Reply #71 »
https://djpr.vic.gov.au/victorian-racing-tribunal/decisions-and-reasons

Michael Bellman harness racing driver suspension 3 months for flicking a female driver between her thighs with his whip saying  "where's your face mask "she apparently was unmasked.

You would think a fine would be more appropriate than suspension.

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« 2021-Sep-09, 10:08 PM Reply #72 »
Full Airbnb party transcripts: Zahra's wife was ‘sitting right there'
Mark Zahra is appealing the severity of his spring carnival-ending ban. Pictu Getty Images
Mark Zahra is appealing the severity of his spring carnival-ending ban. Pictu Getty Images
By Gilbert Gardiner
02:19pm • 09 September 2021
Suspended jockey Mark Zahra allegedly lied to stewards asking whether he attended an illegal Mornington house party because his wife was “sitting right there” when the phone rang.

The verbal exchange, which led to Zahra being given a three-month spring carnival ending ban for the Covid-19 breach, formed part of written submissions to the Victorian Racing Tribunal.

VRT Judge John Bowman on Thursday asked submissions made by counsels acting for Racing Victoria Stewards and Zahra be made public so as not to create an impression of “clandestine dealings”.

Zahra, who is appealing the severity of the three-month ban, also faces a charge in relation to giving false and/or misleading evidence to stewards.

The submission prepared by Zahra’s counsel, Patrick Wheelahan, QC, reads: “The reason Zahra first denied his presence at the Airbnb when first called by (chief steward) Mr Cram was because when he took the call from Mr Cram, he was in the presence of his wife — ‘sitting right there’.

“Zahra called Mr Cram back later that same day after the races, when he had ‘cleared up his home front’.

“As explained by Zahra to Mr Cram, his personal life came before racing; he wanted to tell his wife what actually happened ‘before it hit the press’.

“After sorting out his personal life on the home front, Zahra took it upon himself to call Mr Cram and tell him he was in fact present at the Airbnb gathering.”

Zahra has pleaded guilty to misleading stewards.

As indicated in a directions hearing last week, Zahra’s “substantial” earning capacity during the spring carnival is the basis of an appeal of the severity of the three-month ban.

Last year Zahra pocketed more than $200,000 from three Group 1 wins alone, including $150,000 for the Caulfield Cup.


Zahra said he wanted to tell his wife what was happening first before he confessed to stewards of his presence at the Airbnb party. Pictu Racing Photos via Getty Images

Stewards in their submission provided a timeline of interactions with Zahra on Saturday, August 28 — starting with a voicemail 11.33am.

“Mr Zahra rang the stewards back at 11:53am … where he denied being at the Airbnb gathering.

“The stewards rang Mr Zahra because there were ‘some rumours going around’ that he was at the Airbnb gathering.

“Mr Zahra could not have been more emphatic in his responses:

Chairman: Mark … There’s some rumours going around that you were at the Mornington gathering on Wednesday evening. Is that correct or not?

Mr Zahra: No, it’s not correct.

Chairman: That’s good to hear, that it’s not. I’m just wondering where that would be emanating from?

Mr Zahra: Yeah, I don’t know … I wasn’t there.

Chairman: Yes. You were definitely not there?

Mr Zahra: No, definitely.”

Zahra called back at 5.30pm on Saturday and confessed to being at the party.

The time between the denial and confession was five hours and 37 minutes, according to the submission.

Stewards rejected Zahra’s submission that telling his wife ‘before it hit the press’ justified earlier denials.

“Regardless of the circumstances, Mr Zahra was required to answer questions truthfully and honestly.

“Notwithstanding that the stewards may have rejected his offer, once Mr Zahra became aware of the reason for the stewards’ call, he could have asked for the opportunity to call the stewards straight back.”

Stewards asked the VRT to consider an additional two month ban — for the charge relating to giving false or misleading evidence — on top of the three-months received for the Covid-19 breach house party.

Stewards are satisfied for one of the two additional months to be served concurrently.

In essence the jockeys would be suspended for five months but be eligible to ride after four months.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE PENALTY SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF RACING VICTORIA STEWARDS


CLICK HERE TO READ THE PENALTY SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF MARK ZAHRA

https://www.racenet.com.au/news/suspended-jockey-mark-zahra-wanted-to-clear-up-home-front-before-airbnb-party-confession-20210909

Racenet reports that Jamie Kah who is not appealling her penalty is seeking an expedited hearing on the charge of giving false or misleading evidence to stewards...it was reported that Kah was not forthcoming about the presence of  other jockeys  at the party..she is being represented by Damian Sheales who indicated he would be making a brief submission.

Barrister Damian Sheales, acting on behalf of Kah, said the case needed to be dealt with urgently as the 25-year-old has “very serious” matters ”going on in the background”.

“To close off other matters going on in the background we really seek an urgent date to end the matter,” Sheales said.

“There are things going on in the background that really now make this more pressing.

“I don’t really want to raise publicly the things going on in the background and they are very serious.”


The other jockeys
Melham, Brown dispute claims they misled stewards
Ben Melham is appealing his three-month ban. Pictu AAP
Ben Melham is appealing his three-month ban. Pictu AAP
By Gilbert Gardiner
06:31pm • 09 September 2021
Suspended jockeys Ben Melham and Ethan Brown will plead not guilty to allegedly misleading stewards in the investigation into an illegal Mornington Airbnb party last month.

Melham and Brown, along with jockeys Mark Zahra, Jamie Kah and Celine Gaudray, received three-month bans for breaking State Government and racing Covid-19 protocols by attending the gathering.

Melham, Brown and Zahra are all appealing the severity of their respective sanctions.

A further directions hearing for Melham and Brown is scheduled for September 17.

Barrister Matthew Stirling, acting on behalf of both Melham and Brown, clarified his clients’ position before the Victorian Racing Tribunal on Thursday.

“Not guilty on the false and/or misleading evidence charges in relation to both Melham and Brown and in relation to their Covid appeal,” Stirling said.

“They are most certainly guilty and are only appealing penalty.”

Ethan Brown also pleaded not guilty to misleading stewards.

The providing false and/or misleading evidence relates directly to Kah, Melham, Brown and Gaudray not telling stewards, at the earliest opportunity, whether other riders attended the party.

Zahra was outed as the fifth jockey attendee about 24 hours after stewards suspended the quartet.

Stirling indicated his clients’ defence hinges on the time Zahra spent at the gathering.

“We only have one point in that case,” he said.

“To use an analogy, if six people went out to dinner – three couples – and a seventh person joined them for half an hour.

“They went home and their daughter inquired of them, who was there?

“If they each stated the people that were there for the whole night but they didn’t mention the person that dropped in for a drink, are they liars? We would say no.”

Stirling last week told the VRT Melham and Brown had been at the Mornington rental property for 16 hours whereas Zahra dropped in for “a couple of drinks”.

Meanwhile, News Corp Australia has confirmed Kah, Melham, Brown and Gaudray have all returned negative day 13 Covid-19 tests and could resume riding track work and jumpouts as early as Friday, pending a clearance from the RV chief medical officer.

The quartet’s initial 14-day stand down expired on Thursday.

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« Last Edit: 2021-Sep-09, 10:19 PM by Arsenal »

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« 2021-Sep-13, 10:28 PM Reply #73 »
STATEMENT ON APPEALS
RACING VICTORIA
and
MARK ZAHRA
and
BEN MELHAM
and
ETHAN BROWN

Date of statement:      9 September 2020
Panel:   Judge John Bowman (Chairperson), Judge Graeme Hicks (Deputy Chairperson) and Justice Shane Marshall (Deputy Chairperson).   


STATEMENT
   
At the start, I wish to read the following statement on our behalf, so that the general public, and the media, can better understand what is occurring.

At the last directions hearing involving all parties in these matters, there was some discussion about the cases of Messrs Zahra, Melham and Brown proceeding by way of what is called “on the papers” – that is, with no oral evidence or submissions and with written submissions only by each party. No finality was reached in that regard at the time.

On Friday, 3 September 2021, it was confirmed clearly to the Registrar that, in the case of Mr Zahra, the Stewards agreed with and consented to his application for a hearing on the papers. A timetable was being worked out.

When the Registrar conveyed this to me, I became concerned that there may have been some misunderstanding. It may have been thought by the Stewards and Mr Zahra that, once an agreement had been reached, automatically the hearing would be conducted on the papers and without any oral input. In fact, it was intended to be a two-step process. Firstly, the parties had to agree to proceeding in that way. Secondly, the Tribunal had to give its approval and, if there was approval, apply such conditions as it saw fit.

Lest there had been any misunderstanding, I determined that there should be a further directions hearing as soon as possible. Luckily Judge Hicks was available at very short notice and we conducted a directions hearing early last Friday afternoon.

This may seem to be a storm in a teacup or much ado about nothing, but we do not view it that way.  These are important cases of which the public is well aware. The last thing we want to do is create the impression that there are some secret or clandestine dealings occurring. We do not for a moment suggest that anyone was attempting to do that, but we want to eliminate any possible cause for concern.

The bottom line is that we approved of Mr Zahra’s case proceeding on the basis of written submissions only, but imposed certain conditions. These were agreed to by the legal representatives of both parties.

Those terms or conditions are as follows.

Firstly, as the written submissions are replacing the oral submissions that would otherwise be heard in an open hearing, all such written submissions are to be posted on the Tribunal’s website. Thus, they will be available to all.

Secondly, they will be so posted forthwith, and not just after the ultimate decision is handed down.

Thirdly, they will be so posted virtually simultaneously. This was a suggestion of Mr Zahra’s legal team, and a sensible one. There is the potential for unfairness if the submissions of one side appear days before the submissions of the other.

Fourthly, barring unforeseen circumstances, both sets of submissions will appear on the Tribunal’s website this afternoon or evening.

Fifthly, the Tribunal reserves the right to request further written submissions on the same terms. It also reserves the right to hear oral evidence in the unlikely event that it considers this to be important or essential.

Finally, last Friday the following was pointed out, and this does not apply to Ms Kah or Ms Gaudray, neither of whom is conducting an appeal against a three month penalty. However, we wish to state it clearly again.
in relation to an appeal against penalty, we would refer to Section 50ZE (2) of the Racing Act 1958. We have four options. We can leave the penalty where it sits. If the circumstances warrant it, we can decrease the penalty. We can quash it. Or, if the circumstances warrant it, we can increase the penalty. 

We shall give consideration to the circumstances of each individual appeal, and of each individual appellant.

This statement will appear on the Victorian Racing Tribunal website.


Mark Howard
Registrar, Victorian Racing Tribunal

ENDS

Both Zahra's and RV stewards statements were posted as indicated ...Zahra has pleaded guilty to giving the false and misleading evidence to stewards..his appeal is on the severity of the penalty........a three months suspension for COVID breach and some yet to be determined penalty for the false evidence charge...stewards submit 3 months +2 months of which one month to be served concurrently 4 months total but it's up to the VRT to determine how long he'll get. 

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« Last Edit: 2021-Sep-13, 10:31 PM by Arsenal »

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« 2021-Sep-22, 12:01 PM Reply #74 »
Melham, Brown to face VRT
Andrew Eddy
Andrew Eddy
@fastisheddy
21 September, 2021

The appeals of jockeys Ben Melham and Ethan Brown against the severity of their three-month bans for COVID-19 offences are set to be heard by the Victorian Racing Tribunal on Wednesday.

The VRT will also rule on charges against both riders for providing false and/or misleading evidence to stewards concerning who was at the illegal Airbnb gathering at Mornington last month.

Three other jockeys have already fronted the VRT for charges of attending the gathering and of subsequently providing false and/or misleading evidence.

Neither Jamie Kah or apprentice Celine Gaudray appealed their three-month bans but Mark Zahra's appeal over the severity of the suspension was last week dismissed by the VRT.

Kah has put an appeal in to the Supreme Court against a further two-month ban - which would see her sidelined until late January - for providing false and/or misleading evidence to stewards.

Gaudray received a further two weeks while Zahra had a month added to his original three months for the same charge.

ENDS

Melham & Brown are pleading not guilty to the false and misleading evidence charge.....as far as I know we haven't seen the questions and answers they gave.....but on previous cases Zahra pleaded guilty copped one month extra ,,the 3 Months penalty appeal is a no go imo .....Jamie Kah was found guilty of the false and misleading evidence charge which cost her 2 months extra  which she is taking to the Supreme Court for a judicial review on the question of law.

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