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Offline Arsenal

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« 2021-Sep-22, 08:35 PM Reply #75 »
Airbnb jockeys: Melham, Brown guilty of misleading stewards

By Gilbert Gardiner
02:38pm • 22 September 2021
BANNED jockeys Ben Melham and Ethan Brown will donate 20 per cent of all prizemoney earnings to charity for three months upon their return to race riding.

Counsel acting for Melham and Brown revealed the “act of decency” after the jockeys were found guilty by the Victorian Racing Tribunal for lying to stewards during the Mornington Airbnb probe.

Melham, a father of three, has elected to share the donation between the Red Cross (Covid relief) and Royal Childrens’ Hospital, while Brown‘s money will be paid to Unicef’s Covid-19 Appeal.

The “no strings attached” make good offered to Racing Victoria prior to Wednesday’s hearing will stand regardless of any penalty the tribunal sees fit to impose.

Melham’s barrister Matthew Stirling conceded his client “is at the crossroads of his career”, with the Group 1 jockey having only recently returned from a five-month disqualification.

“He had the issue with the betting charges which he resolved… and was riding exceptionally well and then he’s breached again under these Covid rules,” Stirling said.

“For Melham to sit back over the last three or four weeks… take the bit between his mouth and say I’ve done the wrong thing by the industry and for that matter done the wrong thing by Victoria.

“Take on board that burden of contributing 20 per cent of prizemoney, the greater part of a jockeys’ income of course, that’s no mean feat for somebody who earns money at the level that he does.”

Jockeys are entitled to five per cent of all prizemoney won by their mounts.

Melham’s status and ties to leading stables could see him earn a hefty six-figure salary inside three months.

The charge stems from Melham and Brown not being forthcoming at the earliest opportunity about Mark Zahra having attended the gathering.

The tribunal indicated Melham’s priors, including a period of disqualification for misleading stewards during the betting probe, which was finalised last December, would be taken into account on the penalty.

Melham and Brown earlier on Wednesday abandoned their appeal on the severity of three-month bans for the August 25 Covid breach.

Stirling pleaded for leniency on Brown’s behalf also, citing the 22-year-old’s relative inexperience and mental health challenges.

Brown, who moved to Melbourne from Alice Springs as a 16-year-old to become a jockey, has struggled in the past with homesickness and weight management.

The tribunal heard Brown, who resumed race riding in July after a fourth-month break, regularly accessed RV’s counselling service.

“Given the particular challenges… little utility, we would say to be gained by punishing (Brown) to any greater extent than two weeks’ serving of the suspension… similar to (Celine) Gaudray),” Stirling said.

Apprentice Gaudray was the first of five jockeys implicated in the Airbnb gathering to face the tribunal.

The rising star received an eight week ban for giving false and/or misleading evidence to stewards, of which six weeks would be suspended for two years.

Kah got the full eight weeks, on account of contesting the charge, while Zahra escaped with four of the eight weeks to be served, with the remainder suspended for two years.

Despite best intentions to wrap up proceedings on Wednesday the tribunal ultimately ran out of time.

Submissions will be finalised next week in writing, with a decision handed down “as quickly as possible” thereafter.

ENDS

Giddy Up :beer:



Offline Arsenal

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« 2021-Oct-06, 07:24 PM Reply #76 »
Big surprise that the usually super efficient VRT hasn't reached a decision on the appropriate penalty for Ben Melham and Ethan Brown both guilty of breaching AR 232 giving false and or misleading evidence to stewards over the Airbnb fiasco.

Giddy Up  :beer:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2021-Oct-08, 09:06 AM Reply #77 »
Ben Melham, Racing Victoria Hearing, 22 September 2021 (DOCX 180.77 KB)

Ethan Brown, Racing Victoria Hearing, 22 September 2021 (DOCX 179.81 KB)

Melham gets another 3 months Brown another 8 weeks


Giddy Up :beer:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2021-Nov-17, 09:11 PM Reply #78 »
Updating the link to the VRT site several more decisions published.

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

Giddy Up :no1:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2022-Feb-25, 01:51 PM Reply #79 »
VRT questions “poorly worded” rule
Carl Di Iorio
Carl Di Iorio
@CDi_Iorio
22 February, 2022
A
A
A
Francis Finnegan with No Frontiers
Francis Finnegan with No Frontiers

Racing Victoria's Rules of Racing is 'poorly worded' which may see trainer Francis Finnegan receive a lesser sanction, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) heard on Tuesday.

Finnegan is contesting two charges relating to providing false or misleading evidence and jumpout information which could be considered "dishonest, fraudulent, improper or dishonourable action or practice in connection with racing" ahead of No Frontiers winning at Bairnsdale on May 3, 2020.

The Cranbourne-based trainer pleaded guilty to two charges relating to misconduct and requesting multiple parties to delete mobile phone data.

It is alleged by Racing Victoria stewards that Finnegan knowingly allowed No Frontiers to have three jumpouts at Cranbourne in the autumn of 2020 – March 23, April 6 and April 20 – in the name of stablemates Avozhina and Getemhel prior to being heavily backed and making a winning debut at Bairnsdale.

Tuesday's hearing opened in an unexpected manner. VRT Judge John Bowman, alongside VRT member and former Racing Victoria chief steward Des Gleeson, voiced their inability to locate a specific rule which states a horse must be identified by their registered name in jumpouts.

The disparity with how jumpouts are treated against official trials in Victoria was highlighted by local rule 65 which extensively outlines the conditions of competing in official trials, explicitly stating that "horses must be nominated in their registered names" and "no horse may be substituted for one originally nominated".

"We couldn't find anything (pertaining to jumpouts) in contrast to official trials," Bowman said, whilst acknowledging the four worded charges against Finnegan weren't 'directly affected'.

"We might be wrong in our preliminary assumption that there's no obligation existing to name the horse, in this particular jumpout to obtain approval to race, and does that effect things at all.

"To us there's two options. It may induce reduced importance of all events or it could make it worse as the horse could be raced unnamed but the positive step was taken to give a false name."

Bowman allowed a 30-minute break in proceedings for Racing Victoria's barrister, Justin Hooper, to gain instruction from his client.

Hooper returned and told the VRT hearing that rule AR229(1)(a)(f) "sufficiently demonstrated that there is an expectation on trainers that they identify their horses accurately in jumpouts".

Rule AR229(1)(a)(f) states: "A person must not engage in any dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent, improper or dishonourable action or practice in connection with racing if the person is an owner, nominator, or trainer of a horse – enter or run the horse in any race, official trial, or jumpout under a fraudulently false description."

Hooper further explained: "A horse could certainly jumpout unnamed but it couldn't jumpout unidentified, the breeding would have to be provided and in circumstances where a horse was named, it would be odd if the trainer was to provide breeding information only."

"Punters do rely on that identifiable information and the stewards position is that rule does put an obligation on trainers to correctly identify their horse."

Bowman acknowledged with Hooper's observation but insisted, "It still doesn’t say about jumping out under a false description. It still doesn't seem to cover the situation of whether they've given a horse in a jumpout, with no description, no name."

Hooper replied: "Even if the tribunal believes there's a gap in the rules, the stewards position is that it is irrelevant because Mr Finnegan deliberately gave the horse a false name."

In response, Bowman said: "Less weight attaches to a jumpout situation then it does to a rule situation, in looking at penalties etcetera. It's not as clear."

Hooper verified the position of the prosecution, insisting that AR229(1)(a)(f) requires horses to be "accurately identified in jumpouts" but Bowman disagreed.

"No, it requires that they don't have a fraudulently false description in jumpouts which is a slightly different point," Bowman said.

Finnegan's lawyer Finlay Davis told the VRT hearing that AR229(1)(a)(f) was "poorly worded".

"This becomes the first prosecution under section 229(1)(a)(f) in respect of a jumpout," Davis said.

"Every other matter, in this state and every other state and territory in this country, when the rule was enacted in September 2009, has opted to treated the matter between the steward and the trainer that is in breach of the rule and it doesn't come before us, or has turned a blind eye to it. Here we are today.

"The prosecuting steward Brett Wright said, 'it (No Frontiers) has had three jumpouts prior to the race on May 3, 2020 and nobody knew about except Finnegan. The name of the horse had not been notified to the Cranbourne race club'.

"That sizes it up perfectly, and concisely. If Finnegan had done what he should have done, and notified the club of the change, then he does no wrong.

"The very serious charge of AR229(1)(a) 'a licenced person must not engage in any dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent, improper or dishonourable action or practice in connection with racing' had jumpouts inserted into the rule from September 1, 2009 as I've already said. In my view, it is poorly worded.

"I have considered it to mean to intentionally deceive by deliberate act, or series of acts to unduly obtain an unfair or unlawful benefit. That's what has got to be proved."

Davis, in launching a spirited defence of Finnegan, cited examples of multiple trainers, including the presently disqualified Darren Weir who were fined for providing incorrect jumpout information in September 2018.

The barrister also took aim at Racing Victoria's decision in October 2018 in making an effort "to lift the profile of jumpouts" by demanding Victorian race clubs to provide publicly archived vision and fields.

Davis suggested the beneficiary of such measures weren't "average punters" but instead "professional punters, bookmakers and Racing.com".

After two days of hearing evidence and submissions from both parties, the VRT retired to consider the contested charges against Finnegan and will respond by delivering their verdict in a written statement.

A penalty submission hearing, in anticipation of the written statement being completed within the next two weeks, has been provisionally set for Monday, April 4.

 

Charge 1 – AR 232(i)False and/or misleading evidence
Plea:Not Guilty

The Stewards allege that Mr Finnegan gave false and/or misleading evidence to Stewards during the Inquiry on 3 May 2020 and/or 5 June 2020.

 

Charge 2 – AR 228(b)Misconduct and/or improper conduct detrimental to the interests of racing
Plea:Guilty

The Stewards allege that sometime between 3 and 11 May 2020, Mr Finnegan deleted from his mobile phone, messages and/or call records between himself and Mr Thompson and/or himself and an apprentice jockey that were or could have been relevant to the Inquiry.

 

Charge 3 – AR 227(b)Approaches, requests, conspires or is a party to another person breaching the Rules of Racing
Plea:Guilty

The Stewards allege that sometime between 3 and 11 May 2020 Mr Finnegan approached, requested and/or was a party to Mr Thompson deleting from his mobile phone sometime between 3 and 11 May 2020, messages and/or call records between himself and Mr Finnegan that were or could have been relevant to the Inquiry.

 

Charge 4 – AR 229(1)(a)Dishonest, fraudulent, improper and/or dishonourable action or practice in connection with racing
Plea:Not Guilty

The Stewards allege that Mr Finnegan knowingly jumped out No Frontiers (NZ) at the Cranbourne Jump Outs on 23 March 2020 under the name of stablemate Avozhina, and on 6 and 20 April 2020 under the name of stablemate Getemhel, to assess No Frontier’s capability to perform against other horses, to conceal No Frontiers’ (NZ) true capability from the broader betting market, in order to eventually race the horse and make a profit from betting on it through his and/or others’ accounts, which he did when No Frontiers ran on 3 May 2020.

ENDS

If pressed I think the stewards' interpretation is likely to be right  :whistle:

As a matter of relevance, Ben Thompson got 4 months for his involvement with this horse and trainer in July last year.


Giddy Up :beer:
« Last Edit: 2022-Feb-25, 02:04 PM by Arsenal »

Offline Peter Mair

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« 2022-Feb-25, 08:07 PM Reply #80 »


Ho-Lee Gost ............ did 'someone' get one ready and smoke it in  ... unheard of, demanding severe sanctions!

Offline Arsenal

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« 2022-Feb-28, 05:55 PM Reply #81 »
https://djpr.vic.gov.au/victorian-racing-tribunal/decisions-and-reasons

Latest update from the VRT
 Bryce Stanaway in strife again there's an earlier thread going back too far to reproduce but his latest episode resulted in being DQ'd for 3 years the decision is in the February decisions & reasons........I think he failed to obtain a stay of proceedings but I can't find the news report that would confirm it.

Giddy Up :beer
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Offline sobig

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« 2022-Feb-28, 06:08 PM Reply #82 »
https://www.racing.com/news/2022-02-25/news-trainers-stanaway-fails-in-stay-bid

Bryce Stanaway has failed in his application for a stay of proceedings against his three-year disqualification on misconduct-related charges.

The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on Friday rejected Stanaway’s application for the penalty to be stayed ahead of a VCAT review in his case, which is not expected to be held before the end of the season.

Stanaway, 62, had been disqualified for three years by the Victorian Racing Tribunal on seven misconduct-related charges arising from an incident concerning injured horse he trained at the Bendigo racecourse on October 17 of 2020.

After his mare Moorabool broke down during a race that day, Stanaway ran onto the track and abused RV officials as they were treating the horse as well as threaten a veterinarian and then later became abusive to other attendants to the horse.

As part of his application, Stanaway’s representative Daniel Cash told VCAT senior member Anna Dea that Stanaway is in "dire financial straits" as he was receiving no income from training fees or from prizemoney earned.

Senior member Dea said the decision to reject the application for a stay of proceedings was not taken lightly in view of Stanaway’s financial position but that none of the material in front of her could lead to a different judgement.

Stanaway’s last runners were at Sandown on February 2.

The case is listed for an administrative mention before VCAT on April 13.

Offline Arsenal

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« 2022-Mar-16, 04:28 PM Reply #83 »

Offline Arsenal

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« 2022-May-27, 06:07 PM Reply #84 »
Updated decisions of the VRT

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

Mick Price & Michael Kent jnr nodded their heads to a $4k fine for positive to Neocort .

Other interesting decisions the VRT is like a sausage machine on the go no stopping them dispensing justice.

Giddy Up :beer:


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