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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v K E O'Riley - Decision dated 11 February 2018 - Chair, Mr M McKechnie

Created on 15 February 2018




IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Rules of Racing





Judicial Committee: Mr Murray McKechnie, Chairman & Mr Bryan Scott

Present: Mr Neil Grimstone, Manager Integrity RIU

Ms Kim Elizabeth O’Riley, Class B Trainer

Mr Oscar Westerlund, Registrar

Mr O’Riley, father of Ms Kim O’Riley




1.1 Ms O’Riley is charged under Rule 801(1)(s)(i) of the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing.

Rule 801(1)(s)(i) is as follows:

801(1) A person commits a Serious Racing Offence within the meaning of these Rules who: (s) either by himself or in conjunction with any other person’

(i) does or permits or suffers to be done any act which a Judicial Committee deems fraudulent, corrupt or detrimental to the interests of racing.

It is alleged that on or about the 19th day of November 2017 at Ruakaka Ms O’Riley did an act which was detrimental to the interests of racing in that she sought to extort money from the licenced trainer Donna Logan now known as Donna Marie Logan-Woods by threatening to expose the alleged wrongful and unlawful activities of, and associated with, the trainer by reporting her to the RIU and to otherwise impugn the trainer’s reputation in the industry. The email made plain that if monies were paid to Ms O’Riley the alleged wrongful and unlawful activities would not be reported to the RIU. It was alleged that this was done by an emailed letter authorised by Ms O’Riley and sent to the licenced trainer Chris Gibbs for his training partner Donna Marie Logan-Woods.

1.2 There was a telephone conference on the 14th December 2017 at which Mr Grimstone and Ms O’Riley were in attendance. Ms O’Riley indicated that she pleaded guilty to the charge and that was formally noted and entered into the record on the 14th December last.


2.1 Mr Grimstone has filed comprehensive submissions on behalf of the RIU. These have been carefully considered by the Committee. More recently on the 30th January the Committee received a victim impact statement signed by Ms Logan-Woods and that was referred to Ms O’Riley. More will be said of that later.

2.2 The charge relates to a series of allegations which are contained in the letter spoken of above. The position is set out in the summary of facts prepared by Mr Grimstone and that is attached to and is to be read as part of this decision – 3 pages. It is not appropriate to attach the letter to the decision as there is material there that would not be appropriate to enter into the public record.

2.3 As can be seen from the summary of facts there are five (5) separate allegations which Ms O’Riley directed towards Ms Logan-Woods. The summary sets out the response which the RIU have made in each instance. Nothing has been found in relation to the operation of the Logan-Gibbs stable to demonstrate a breach of any of the Rules of Racing.

2.4 The RIU submissions draw attention to the well-known sentencing principles. These are most recently set out in the decision in NZTR v Dyke [2008] at 2.2. The RIU submissions then go on to draw attention to cases perhaps more comparable to the circumstances here. These are RIU v Waddell, (4 December 2015), NZTR v McAnulty, (29 April 2011), RIU v David Scott, (26 April 2016) and RIU v Walker, (26 September 2014). The Committee has also had reference to the decision of the Non-Raceday Judicial Committee in RIU v Quirke, (5 February 2016). All of the cases referred to involve some deliberate serious breach of the Rules of Racing and hence the seriousness of the charge that each of the persons mentioned was facing.

2.5 Here the conduct of Ms O’Riley was essentially directed to seeking money from Ms Logan-Woods in return for not passing to the RIU allegations which Ms O’Riley said could be made against the Logan-Gibbs stable. Conduct of this kind is addressed by the Crimes Act 1961. Reference Section 238 headed “Extortion by Certain Threats”. That section of the Crimes Act provides that everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen (14) years who with intent to extort or gain anything from any person commits any of the actions then listed and those include the very sort of conduct that has taken place.

2.6 The RIU submissions draw attention to factors which are said to be exaggerating and mitigating. As to the former it is difficult to imagine more serious misconduct than what has occurred here. As is said in the RIU submissions this was effectively criminal behaviour known by the colloquial term “Blackmail”. The RIU submissions acknowledge mitigating factors. These are two (2), as follows:

a) Ms O’Riley’s previous good character. There is no previous breach of any of the rules of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing; and

b) Ms O’Riley pleaded guilty at the first reasonable opportunity.


3.1 Ms O’Riley has filed a quite detailed letter with the Committee. In this letter she acknowledges that a serious mistake was made. The letter apologises to the RIU and the JCA. The letter goes on to speak of Ms O’Riley’s concerns about conduct within the Logan-Gibbs stable. The Committee pointed out to Ms O’Riley that it is one thing to draw to the attention of the RIU irregular behaviour in a racing stable and an entirely different matter to seek to use those alleged irregularities to extract money or other benefits from those who operate the stable.

3.2 It is clear from the comments that Ms O’Riley made today in addressing the Committee that she accepts that a period of disqualification must inevitably result from offending of this character.

3.3 Ms O’Riley has drawn attention to her health and has put before the Committee medical reports dated the 28th November 2017 and the 9th February 2018. The latter report indicates that she is currently under significant stress and in the opinion of the medical practitioner not currently fit to be working. Ms O’Riley told the Committee that she has not had work for some time. Further in response to Ms Logan-Wood’s victim impact statement Ms O’Riley acknowledged that there had been times during her employment at that stable when she had been suffering from substance abuse. She told the Committee that she had sought assistance with that and the Committee was given to understand that the drug use has now ceased.

3.4 It is clear both from the written material by Ms O’Riley and from what she has told the Committee today that there have been significant personal differences between Ms Logan-Woods and Ms O’Riley. Ms O’Riley worked for the stable for some four (4) years before she and her partner went out as Class B trainers on their own account. She told the Committee that they do not currently have any horses in work but that she has an interest in two (2) horses that have been in work and may return to work. It was made clear to her that a period of disqualification will mean that she will have to terminate her interest in those horses.


4.1 As has been recorded above it is recognised by Ms O’Riley that a period of disqualification must inevitably follow from a plea of guilty to a charge of this seriousness. Nothing further need be said about the nature of the allegations made. As recorded earlier those are comprehensively set out in the summary of facts. It is clear to the Committee that this conduct has significantly upset Ms Logan-Woods. That is unsurprising. Ms Logan-Woods is about to embark upon training of thoroughbred horses in Singapore. It is well known to the Committee that the Logan-Gibbs stable has had significant success in thoroughbred racing for some years.

4.2 It is a question of determining the appropriate term of disqualification. The aggravating consideration is the seriousness of the offending. The mitigating considerations are the previous unblemished record and the prompt plea of guilty together with the apology made to the RIU and the JCA. It is of some concern to the Committee that Ms O’Riley does not perhaps appreciate quite how serious this offending is. It is for that reason in part at least that the Committee has made express reference to Section 238 of the Crimes Act 1961.

4.3 The previous relevant decisions referred to earlier are well known to the Committee. Necessarily none bears a direct comparison with the present circumstances. At the high end the offending in RIU v Scott could hardly have been more serious. Mr Scott held a position of governance within Greyhound Racing New Zealand. At the lower end the case of RIU v Quirke did not involve any attempt to affect the outcome of races and had to do with the placing of bets by a man who was engaged as the Chief Handicapper for NZTR.

4.4 The Committee considers that the period of 3½ years disqualification sought by the RIU is entirely reasonable. Balancing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances we consider that some mitigation can be made for Ms O’Riley’s previous good character and her prompt plea of guilty and cooperation. In those circumstances we have reached the conclusion that the proper period of disqualification is a period of three (3) years.


5.1 There will be a disqualification of Ms O’Riley for a period of three (3) years commencing immediately. Mr Grimstone has drawn to the Committee’s attention that Ms O’Riley surrendered her licence on the 20th December 2017 and that is another factor which goes to her credit. The consequences of that as has been made clear to Ms O’Riley today are that she must relinquish any interests she has in thoroughbred horses and she cannot go to race courses or to premises licenced under the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing.


6.2 The issue of costs has been raised. The RIU have indicated that they do not seek costs from Ms O’Riley. That is a generous position to adopt. The Committee pointed out to Ms O’Riley that some contribution towards the costs of the JCA is required. From what Ms O’Riley has told the Committee today the financial position of she and her partner is plainly not strong and we bear that in mind in fixing the figure for costs. The contribution that Ms O’Riley will be required to make towards the costs of the JCA is $500.00.

DATED this 11th day of February 2018

Murray McKechnie


(Signed pursuant to Rule 920(4)) 



AT Auckland

IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand

Rules of Thoroughbred Racing


Neil Grimstone

Manger Integrity Assurance


AND Kim Elizabeth O’RILEY



The Respondent, Kim Elizabeth O’RILEY is a Class B Licenced Trainer under the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Rules of Racing and she is aged 41 years.

She currently trains with her life partner one Joseph GILLIES who is also a Class B Trainer under the rules.

They rent a small number of stables at the far rear of the LOGAN / GIBBS training establishment in Ruakaka, Northland.

They currently only have one horse in work.

On or about the 19 November 2017 a letter was emailed to Class A Licenced Trainer Chris GIBBS making serious allegations about alleged activities of his training partner Donna Marie LOGAN.

This email was sent from [email protected]. The email was signed by the respondent Kim O’RILEY.

GIBBS was extremely concerned about the contents of the letter and the threats and demands it contained. He did not show it to LOGAN until some days later when she had completed her duties at the recent sales as he did not want to cause her any disruptions or distress whist she was involved in purchasing new horses.

Upon her return to Ruakaka, LOGAN was shown the letter and she immediately contacted the Racing Integrity Unit and an investigation was commenced.

She was understandably extremely distressed and upset about the letter and its contents and allegations.

The letter is attached to this Summary of Facts and will form part of the Racing Integrity Units case.

In the letter O’RILEY makes five particular allegations.

1. Staff members recently tested for drugs with three persons being charged.

This is correct and was undertaken by RIU investigators as part of their normal Human Testing Regime. Two of LOGAN /GIBBS staff were positive to Methamphetamine and one for cannabis and are currently going through the JCA process and this is on the public record.

LOGAN and GIBBS were extremely co-operative and supportive of this testing and have a strong anti-drugs stance.

2. The LOGAN/ GIBBS stable has had recent positive swabs for Cobalt.

RIU staff visited the LOGAN / GIBBS stable in the previous racing season with concerns about a number of elevated Cobalt results. None of which were over the NZTR threshold.

This matter was brought to the attention of LOGAN and GIBBS and between the trainers and the RIU their feeding regime was examined and found that they had recently changed the regime which had resulted in these readings.

LOGAN called her vet and this matter was addressed.

There have been no positive swabs for Cobalt from the LOGAN / GIBBS stable.

Both persons were helpful and co-operative which achieved a positive outcome and subsequent testing is not extraordinary.

3. Injecting performance enhancers to racing team.

The RIU have completed substantial testing of LOGAN/ GIBBS horses both following the wins and also out of competition testing for horses that are spelling.

There have been no positive swabs from the LOGAN / GIBBS stable.

4. Irregularities with recent LOGAN / GIBBS winners.

All winners have been tested and there are no drug irregularities.

5. Supply Staff with cannabis

There is no evidence to support this position at all, and LOGAN maintains a strong anti-drug focus to the point of encouraging RIU to test her staff.

In this threatening and demanding letter, the respondent on two occasions states “I don’t have any hard evidence” and further on in the letter “no proof only speculation”

The Respondents Interview

On Tuesday the 28th November 2017 the respondent was interviewed by RIU investigators.

She freely admitted sending the letter and stated it was a result of a long history between the two. That things had been tough for her and GILLIES and that she wasn’t thinking straight at the time.

O’RILEY went on to say that it was quite threatening and was “like Blackmail”.

She said her emotions ran wild and that it was a stupid, stupid thing to do

Consequences of the Conduct

The matter has also been reported to the local Ruakaka Police.

Ms LOGAN as a result of this letter was extremely upset and distressed. She has recently made arrangements to train in Singapore and was concerned that these negative and untrue allegations could harm her otherwise good reputation both here, Australia and now Singapore.

This conduct by one industry participant threatening another, particularly when it engages a threat to involve the RIU, upon unfounded and scandalous allegations undermines the integrity of the industry. A licenced trainer such as Ms LOGAN should not by virtue of their status in the industry be “extorted” in this way and nor should the RIU and related processes be used as a threat by any industry participant

As per this Summary of Facts Ms LOGAN totally refutes the allegations as have been explained.

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