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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v C Morris - Written Decision dated 26 September 2017 - Chair, Mr P Williams

Created on 27 September 2017

BEFORE THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY

UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003

AND IN THE MATTER of the Rules of New Zealand Greyhound Racing Authority (Incorporated)

BETWEEN

RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU) - Informant

AND

CAROL MORRIS - Respondent

Judicial Committee: Mr Paul Williams (Chairman), Mr Noel McCutcheon (Committee Member)

Appearing:

Mr Gavin Whiterod, for the RIU as the Informant

Mrs Carol Morris

Date of Written Decision:

26 September 2017

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

1] The respondent, Mrs Carol Morris is a licensed greyhound trainer under the Greyhound Racing New Zealand Rules of Racing. It is alleged in Information A4458: -

THAT on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 at a race meeting conducted by Wanganui Greyhound Racing Club at Wanganui Carol Morris failed to present the registration papers for runner, PHANTOM WAY in Race 9. An alleged breach of Rule 44.8(b) of the Greyhound Racing New Zealand Rules of Racing.

2] A teleconference was held with the parties on 19 September 2017 and it was agreed the matter would be heard “on the papers”. Deadlines for the receipt of submissions from the parties were agreed and these deadlines have been met.

3] Mrs Morris acknowledged receipt of Information A4458 on 13 September 2017 and indicated she did not admit a breach of the Rule. The hearing of this minor infringement offence is therefore in terms of Rule 66.3(e) of the Greyhound Racing New Zealand Rules of Racing.

4] As the Information was filed on a raceday the requirement for the consent from the General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit authorising the filing of the Information in terms of Rule 66.2(a) was not required.

SUMMARY OF FACTS AND PENALTY SUBMISSIONS FROM THE RIU

5] “On 13.09.2017, Mrs Morris presented the Greyhound PHANTOM WAY for kennelling prior to racing in race 9 at the Wanganui GRC meeting on that day. On arrival at the track, Mrs Morris advised me that she was unable to present the registration papers for the dog as they had been "chewed up" in the van by a Greyhound.

As per the Rules, I allowed the dog to be kennelled and to start after obtaining the dogs ear brands and microchip details from a print out. I also spoke to Mrs Morris and suggested that she obtain a folder to secure her registration details to which she replied, I already have one.

As Mrs Morris and her training partner at the time Ms Lammas were charged under the same Rule and admitted the breach and were fined on 14.07.17, I elected to again charge Mrs Morris with a breach of Rule 44.8 b of the Minor Infringement Table. When presenting the charge sheet to Mrs Morris, Mr Austin, who was assisting me on the day, indicated that if admitting the breach, the standard fine was $50. However, Mrs Morris did not admit the breach and was advised that the matter would be referred to the JCA for decision.

Taking into account the fact that I believe this event was preventable if the Greyhound was not able to access the Registration book and that as a result of not admitting the breach, several people have spent time attempting to arrive at a decision, all at a cost to the Industry(sic). I therefore believe that Mrs Morris has breached the Rule by being negligent with her Registration book and that consideration should be given to imposing some costs against her on this occasion”.

RESPONSE TO THE RIU’S SUMMARY OF FACTS AND PENALTY SUBMISSIONS FROM THE RESPONDENT

6] Mrs Morris has provided a detailed written submission accompanied by 2 photographs of the inside of the vehicle used to transport her greyhounds. Whilst the submission explains why she was unable to present the required papers for “Phantom Way” on 13 September 2017 much of it relates to the circumstances surrounding her previous breach of this Rule on 14 July 2017 as well as detailed information about how she spends each day of her working week. The Committee believes the circumstances relating to the 14 July 2017 charge are not relevant when considering the matter currently before us and do not need to be included in this decision. In addition, whilst Mrs Morris may feel she is a very busy trainer and that is the reason she overlooked putting the papers relating to “Phantom Way” in her vehicle, the Committee does not believe it is necessary to include in this decision all the information provided by Mrs Morris on how she spends her working week.

7] Extracts from Mrs Morris’ submission are as follows: -

“On 13.9.17 I informed Mr Gavin Whiterod that I was unable to present “Phantom Way’s” racing papers due to a young greyhound that I had at the trials chewing her booklet and that they being replaced(sic). Mr Whiterod suggested that I should obtain a folder to secure for which I said I have one. What I should have said they were in the booklet but not secure due to the plastic cover over time the eyelets had split and I do have others but they had been placed inside the folder but loose.

It was not until after the first few races that Mr Mike Austin spoke to me and informed me that I was being charged for not presenting “Phantom Way’s” papers. I then asked him how can I be charged for something that no longer exists. I then said I was not admitting to the breach. Had Mr Whiterod spoken to me on how the dog got the papers I could have informed him that they had fallen as the dog was pulling a jersey through the grill and the loose papers had fallen through – I would have shown him how”.

8] It is at this point in her submission that Mrs Morris then refers to the 14 July 2017 charge ending up saying that because of a breakdown in communication between her and her daughter she paid the fine. She then goes on to say: -

“In this case (the 14.9.17 breach) I don’t feel I was negligent with the registration papers. I feel that for you to understand that you need to know how things work for a normal week for me”.

9] Mrs Morris then provides details of her working week and concludes her submission with the following: -

“On that Tuesday (12.9.17) I had everything in the van ready for Wednesday racing as I was going to Phillipa’s to babysit as she had a hair appointment at 7pm. Knowing that it takes an hour to her place I had everything ready before going to the trials that’s why I had the race papers in the van as well as everything else that I needed. I am not as young as I used to be and can be forgetful – having things done the night before helps”.

REASONS FOR DECISION

10] Rules 44.8 of the NZGRA Rules of Racing states: -

(a) A Greyhound shall not be permitted to compete in any Race unless the Certificate of Registration and weight record of the Greyhound identifying the Greyhound and certifying that it is eligible to compete, is produced to the Stewards for the purposes of identification at the time of kennelling.

(b) “Where a certificate of Registration and weight record is not produced the trainer shall be guilty of an offence”.

11] Mrs Morris has provided a detailed explanation as to why she was unable to present the certificate of registration for “Phantom Way” on 13 September 2017. Whilst not including in this decision all the content of her submission the Committee has carefully considered the complete submission and accepts without reservation that she is a busy trainer with a lot of demands on her time. However, put simply the required documentation was not presented for “Phantom Way” on arrival at the racecourse and Mrs Morris has therefore breached Rule 44.8(b). The Committee notes the RIU allowed the dog to be kennelled and to start after obtaining the dogs ear brands and microchip details and therefore there was no negative impact on Mrs Morris or the Wanganui GRC as there would have been had “Phantom Way” been late scratched by the RIU.

DECISION

12] The Committee finds the charge against Mrs Morris proved.

REASONS FOR PENALTY

13] A breach of Rule 44.8 of the NZGRA Rules of Racing is deemed a minor infringement and for a first offence the penalty is a fine of $50 and for a second offence the penalty is a fine of $100. Whilst Mrs Morris admitted a breach of the Rule on 14 July 2017 she was at the time in a training partnership with another person. When Mrs Morris breached the Rule on 13 September 2017 she was training on her own account and therefore the Committee treats this latter breach as the first one for Mrs Morris notwithstanding that it is the second one within 120 days since 14 July 2017 that she has committed.

14] It is unfortunate for Mrs Morris that she was unable to produce the required paperwork for “Phantom Way” on arrival at the Wanganui greyhound track on 13 September 2017 and the Committee accepts there was no intent on her part to actively circumvent the Rules. Further as the RIU did allow the greyhound to start there was no negative financial impact on the Club as possibly there might have been had the greyhound been late scratched.

15] The Committee believes on this occasion a fine is an appropriate penalty and that the penalty will be as specified for a first breach of the Rule as detailed in the Minor Infringement Table. The Committee notes the RIU’s comments that consideration be given to imposing costs against Mrs Morris – Rule 66.12 refers. Any person charged with any breach of a Code’s Rules is entitled to not admit that breach and seek to have the charge dismissed. Whilst Mrs Morris has not been successful on this occasion the Committee has decided not to award any costs against her.

PENALTY

16] Mrs Morris is fined $50.

Paul Williams       Noel McCutcheon

Chairman            Committee Member

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