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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v A H Lee - Decision dated 11 November 2017 - Chair, Mr R G McKenzie

Created on 15 November 2017

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

HELD AT CHRISTCHURCH

IN THE MATTER of Greyhound Racing New Zealand Rules of Racing

AND

IN THE MATTER of Information No. 0A9532

BETWEEN J M McLAUGHLIN, Stipendiary Steward for Racing Integrity Unit

Informant

AND A H LEE of Rangiora, Licensed Owner / Trainer

Respondent

Date of Hearing: 11 November 2017

Venue: Riccarton Park, Christchurch

Judicial Committee: R G McKenzie (Chairman)

N M Moffatt (Committee Member)

Present: Mr J M McLaughlin, the Informant

Mr D M Wadley, Stipendiary Steward (Registrar)

Date of Decision: 11 November 2017

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

The Charge:

1.0 Following the meeting of Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club held at Addington Raceway on 3rd November 2017, Mrs A H Lee, Licensed Owner/Trainer, was charged with a breach of Rule 62.1 (o) of the Greyhound New Zealand Rules of Racing.

2.0 Rule 62 provides as follows:

(1) Any person (including an Official) commits an offence if he/she:

(o) has, in relation to a Greyhound or Greyhound racing, done a thing, or omitted to do a thing which is negligent, dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent or improper or constitutes misconduct.

3.0 Information No. A09532 was filed by Mr McLaughlin alleging that Mrs Lee, as the trainer of PROMISE TO KEEP, an acceptor for Race 9, Chris & Lisa Earl Stakes, she was “negligent in failing to scratch PROMISE TO KEEP by the required time thus denying a runner a start.”

4.0 Mr McLaughlin produced a letter from Mr M R Godber, General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, authorising the filing of the information.

5.0 The information was served on Mrs Lee on 8th November 2017. Mrs Lee had signed and endorsed on the information form “I do admit a breach of the rule” and “I do not wish to be present at the hearing of this information”.

6.0 Mrs Lee having admitted the charge, it was found proved.

Submissions of the Informant

7.0 Kennel staff at the meeting questioned Stewards, after the time for second kennelling had closed (12.42pm), as to whether PROMISE TO KEEP had been scratched. At that stage, Stewards advised the kennelling staff that, to their knowledge, the greyhound had not been scratched and should have been presented for kennelling.

8.0 Mrs Lee came to the Stewards’ Room prior to the start time of Race 4 (12.58pm) and informed Stewards that PROMISE TO KEEP had been injured the previous day (ten stitches in a foot). Therefore, it could not race and was not on course. It was late scratched by Stewards at 1.01pm., following the running of Race 4. The late scratching of PROMISE TO KEEP resulted in a reserve runner, LAVARNO, being denied the opportunity to start in Race 9.

9.0 At no time, did Mrs Lee seem worried that she had not scratched the greyhound. She was asked where the greyhound was, and was informed that it would be scratched from its engagement in Race 9. She told Stewards that she would apologise to the affected party (Trainers S M & B H Evans trained the first reserve dog in Race 9).

10.0 Mrs Lee, later in the day, produced a veterinary certificate stating that the dog had received stitches in its foot and had received a stand down. She promised Stewards that it would be away from racing for a significantly longer period than the stand down period stated by the veterinarian.

11.0 Mrs Lee seemed quite unconcerned that she had failed to advise the scratching of PROMISE TO KEEP by the required time, 7.30am on raceday. She had taken the dog to the vet the previous day when it received ten stitches in its foot, and at no time did she feel as though she had to scratch the dog. It was as though Mrs Lee was unaware that PROMISE TO KEEP was in the field.

12.0 Mrs Lee was negligent in relation to a Greyhound or Greyhound Racing in breach of Rule 62.1 (o).

The Informant’s Penalty Submissions

13.0 Mr McLaughlin informed the Committee that the offence of late scratching a greyhound and denying another greyhound a start was previously included in the Minor Infringement Scheme, but had recently been removed from the table of minor infringements. The former penalty was a fine of $300 and Mr McLaughlin submitted that the fine imposed by the Committee should be not less than that amount.

Reasons for Penalty

14.0 The Sixth Schedule to the Rules of Racing of the NZ Greyhound Racing Association sets out penalties for a number of offences which are deemed to be “minor infringements”. Prior to an amendment to those Rules, which amendment came into effect on 12 December 2016, the first offence penalty for “not scratched by 7.30am thus constituting a late scratching if a reserve dog is denied a start” was prescribed as a fine of $300. The amended Minor Infringements Table does not specify a penalty for that breach. The Committee is unsure of the reason for this.

15.0 The Committee notes that, prior to the amendment, a number of trainers had received fines of $300 for that breach under the then Minor Infringement Scheme.

16.0 Looking at aggravating and mitigating factors, Mrs Lee’s apparent don’t care attitude could be regarded as an aggravating factor. Mitigating factors are Mrs Lee’s admission of the breach and, we understand, her previous good record.

17.0 Mr McLaughlin has submitted that an appropriate penalty in this case is a fine of $300 as per the previous Minor Infringements Table. On that basis, and on the basis that a fine of that amount has consistently been imposed in previous cases of which the Committee is aware, we are satisfied that that is the appropriate penalty in the present case.

Penalty

18.0 Mrs Lee is fined the sum of $300.

R G MCKENZIE

Chair

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