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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v M Anderson - Penalty Decision dated 15 October 2017 - Chair, Mr S Ching

Created on 17 October 2017

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

IN THE MATTER of the

New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing

IN THE MATTER of Information No. A5535

BETWEEN MR N YDGREN,

Chief Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit

Informant

AND MR M ANDERSON, Licensed Junior Horseman

Respondent

Date of Hearing: 15 October 2017

Venue: Mt Harding Racecourse, Methven

Judicial Committee: S Ching, Chair - D Anderson, Committee Member

Present: Mr N Ydgren, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Mr S Renault, Registrar

Date of Decision: 15 October 2017

PENALTY DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

The Charge

[1] Information No. A5535 alleges that:

On the 13th day of August 2017, at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club meeting, Mr Anderson was in possession of a modified safety helmet which is in breach of Rule 847(1) and the Safety Gear Regulations.

The Rules and Regulations

[2] Rule 847 (1) provides as follows:

847 (1) No horseman shall check out or attempt to check out unless he wears safety gear which complies with the requirements of the Safety Gear Regulations made by the Board.

Safety Gear Regulations

This regulation is made by the Board pursuant to the Rules of Harness Racing.

Drivers competing in harness race meetings in New Zealand when being checked out must be wearing a safety helmet that complies with the requirements of AS/NZS 3838 (2006) and the helmets must be certified by Standards New Zealand, or an equivalent third-party certification body.

Drivers competing in harness race meetings in New Zealand when being checked out must be wearing a safety vest that complies with the Beta (British Equestrian Assn), Satra or QAS (Qualify Assurance Standard) Standards.

A safety vest and helmet must have the manufacturers label attached that states it complies with the relevant approved standard.

A driver may not wear or have in their possession a vest or helmet that has been modified in any way.

All Starters, Starters’ Assistants, Crash team members, and any person who is working with/amongst the horses (excluding the Vet and Farrier) prior to a race, must wear the following safety gear at all race meetings:

• Appropriate safety footwear – as determined by Stipendiary Stewards.

• Helmets – as per the requirements for drivers above.

• Reflective Vests (fluro yellow or orange 442HCH jerkin) with all vests worn to be the same colour.

Note: Starters are permitted to remove their helmet when on the Starter’s rostrum only.

The Plea

[3] The information was served by Mr Ydgren on Mr Anderson at the NZMTC meeting on 12 October 2017.

[4] Mr Anderson had endorsed the information that the breach was admitted. Mr Ydgren also confirmed to the Committee that Mr Anderson did not wish to be present at the hearing.

Informant’s Summary of Facts

[5] Mr Ydgren produced documentation dated 9 October 2017, from the General Manager of the RIU, Mr M Godber, authorising Mr Ydgren under Rule 903(2)(d), to lodge the information against Mr Anderson.

[6] Mr Ydgren stated that Mr Anderson had driven and was found in possession of a modified safety helmet in breach of Rule 847(1) and the Safety Gear Regulations at the Rangiora Harness Racing Clubs meeting on 13 August 2017.

[7] Mr Ydgren produced Mr Anderson’s helmet and stated that the modification to Mr Anderson’s helmet was the chin strap permanent attachment which was professionally repaired by a saddler without the consent of Stewards. He stated that the Stewards are able to assess the quality of safety gear and order the satisfactory repair of it.

He also said that after extensive enquiries it was found that Mr Anderson had organised and completed repairs to the helmet on his own without prior approval from the Stewards and had then after repair, used the helmet on raceday.

Mr Ydgren also produced a helmet of the same age and model to show the difference between the manufacturers attachment of the chin strap and the modification to Mr Anderson’s helmet.

Decision:

[8] As Mr Anderson had admitted the beach the charge was found proved.

Submissions of Informant on Penalty

[9] Mr Ydgren stated that the JCA Penalty Guide provides for a breach of this rule a starting point of a 10-drive suspension or a $500 fine. Mr Ydgren submitted that the breach was low level and taking into consideration Mr Anderson’s admission of the breach, his clear record, his status as a junior driver and the fact that safety was not compromised, a fine of $200 be considered as penalty in this case. He said that it this was not a situation where the driver’s safety has been compromised but it is an issue that a driver should not be making their own modifications to safety gear without the approval of the Stewards.

Reasons for Penalty

[10] The JCA Penalty Guide provides a starting point of a 10-drive suspension or a $500 fine for a mid-range breach of this rule. We agree with Mr Ydgren that this breach is at a low level and therefore adjust the starting point to a $400 fine.

There were no aggravating factors to warrant an uplift in penalty only mitigating factors to consider. These factors were numerous being Mr Anderson's clear record, his admission of the breach, his status as a Junior driver and the fact that safety was not compromised. For these mitigating factors we were able to afford Mr Anderson a combined discount in penalty. This discount we set at $200. We therefore determined that an appropriate penalty in this case was a $200 fine.

Penalty

[11] Mr Anderson is fined the sum of $200.

S Ching

Chair

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