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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v J McInerney - Decision as to Penalty and Costs dated 9 October 2019 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 10 October 2019

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

AT CHRISTCHURCH

IN THE MATTER of the Rules of Greyhound Racing New Zealand

IN THE MATTER of Information No. A09901

BETWEEN MR R QUIRK

Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit

Informant

AND MR J MCINERNEY

Licensed Greyhound Trainer

Respondent

Judicial Committee: Mr S Ching, Chairman - Ms O Jarvis, Committee Member

Date of Decision: 9 October 2019

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE AS TO PENALTY AND COSTS

Background

[1] Following a defended hearing on 14 September 2019, in a written decision dated 21 September 2019, the Committee found a charge against Mr McInerney proven, of allowing “SOZIN’S ONYX” to be drawn into the field at both Southland GRC’s and Christchurch GRC’s meetings on the same day. This necessitated the scratching of SOZIN’S ONYX from Christchurch GRC’s meeting which did not constitute a valid reason for scratching.

[2] In that decision, the Committee invited the parties to file submissions in relation to penalty and costs. The informant was required to file submissions by no later than 27 September 2019 and the respondent to file submissions by no later than 4 October 2019.

[3] The informant’s submissions were received on 25 September 2019 with the respondent’s submissions received Friday 4 October 2019.

Submissions of the Informant

[4] Written submissions of the Informant were received as follows;

The Minor Infringement Table refers to a Non valid withdrawal under Rule 40.3 and lists a fine of $150.00. However, this amount is in the case where the Defendant admits the Charge and accepts that penalty.

In this case, Mr McInerney did not admit the breach and Stewards are of the opinion that the Minor Infringement Table is not relevant.

The RIU feel that a fine in the range of $200.00 is appropriate on this occasion which reflects the above.

No costs are being sought by the RIU in this matter

The Respondent’s Submissions

[5] Written submissions were received by the Respondent as follows;

To whom it may concern.

Penalty submission on behalf of Licenced Trainer Mr J McInerney

Having read the case in front of me and accepting we have lost I would like to thank members of the Racing Integrity Unit along with the Judicial Control Authority that expressed sympathy in this case. The rule was denied because of confusion on my behalf around the wording. As a trainer I was doing this with the best interest of greyhound and owner at heart. Therefore, we have already received a hefty penalty in regard to the said dog receiving a 28 day stand down (not being able to earn) this has impacted on the trainer and owner. I accept a penalty to being given to stop this happening again. A draft copy of a new rule is in process to be sent for the racing rules committee to look at. Therefore, I believe a maximum $150 dollar fine in this case to be too high and ask you kindly to take into account the loss of the dog racing for a month, 4-6 starts and the ability to earn.

Yours sincerely

Jonathon McInerney

Reasons for Penalty

[6] A breach of rule 40.3, a non-valid withdrawal, is normally dealt with under the Minor Infringement Schedule, with penalty a $150 fine for an admitted breach, being imposed. In this case, Mr McInerney elected to defend the charge relying on his interpretation of the wording in the rules. He also mistakenly used the hearing as a forum for change of the rule, which he believed is flawed and prevents trainers from providing every opportunity to their dogs to obtain starts.

[7] We find there are no aggravating factors in this case to consider. Mr McInerney was entitled to defend this breach as was his right, although was mistaken by his interpretation of the wording of the rule, and cannot be penalised for exercising that right.

[8] This Committee also finds that there were no mitigating factors to consider in this case. As already noted, an admitted breach of this rule under the Minor Infringement Schedule carries a fine of $150, mitigation inclusive.

[9] We determined that we are not in a position to penalise Mr McInerney for exercising his right to defend this charge and therefore are drawn to the standard fine under the Minor Infringement Schedule of $150.

[10] We have determined that the $150 fine applicable is the minimum penalty as it is under the Minor Infringement Schedule. As above, we have determined that there are no aggravating factors or mitigating factors to consider and have therefore decided that a fine, as per the standard fine for a breach of this rule under the Minor infringement Schedule, of $150, is an appropriate penalty in this case.

Penalty

[11] Mr McInerney is fined the sum of $150.

Costs

[12] Costs are not sought by the RIU and no costs are made in favour of the Judicial Control Authority as the hearing was held on a race day.

S Ching       O Jarvis

CHAIR         COMMITTEE MEMBER

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