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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v N Purdon - Written Decision dated 10 September 2020 - Chair, Mr B J Scott

Created on 14 September 2020

BEFORE THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY UNDER THE RACING INDUSTRY ACT 2020

AND IN THE MATTER of the Rules of Harness Racing New Zealand

BETWEEN

RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU) – Informant

AND

NATHAN PURDON - Respondent

Judicial Committee : Mr BJ Scott (Chairman)

Appearing : Mr JM Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward as the Informant

Mr N Purdon – Respondent

Venue : Cambridge Harness Racecourse

Date of Decision : 10 September 2020

WRITTEN DECISION OF THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

EVIDENCE:

Mr Purdon was charged with Misconduct pursuant to Rule 303(2) in that he failed to attend an investigation by the Stewards when directed to do so. The charge arose out of an investigation into the performance of 2 horses co-trained by Mr Purdon namely FABRIZIO and IM A GIGOLO in Race 6 at the Auckland Trotting Club Meeting on the 3rd of September 2020.

Rule 303(2) provides:

No person or body who holds a permit or Licence under these Rules and no owner, trainer, breeder, stablehand, unlicensed apprentice or racing manager shall misconduct himself or fail to comply with any request, direction, or instruction of any Stipendiary Steward, Racecourse Inspector or Starter.

This charge was heard at a Non-Raceday Inquiry at the Waikato –BOP Harness Inc meeting on the 10th of September 2020. By letter dated the 9th of September 2020 the General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit authorised Senior Stipendiary Steward, Mr JM Muirhead to proceed with the charge against Mr Purdon. Information number A12242 was served on Mr Purdon and he recorded on the Information that he admitted the charge.

Mr Muirhead gave evidence and said that following Race 6 on the 3rd of September the Stewards opened an investigation into the performances of both FABRIZIO and IM A GIGOLO. Stipendiary Steward, Mr A Dooley was sent to see Mr Purdon and tell him that he was wanted by the Stewards for enquiries into the performances of his 2 horses. Mr Purdon did not respond, and Mr Muirhead said that later on that night he tried to contact Mr Purdon by phone. He did not get an answer, nor did Mr Purdon call him back.

Mr Muirhead said that he recorded in the Stewards Report for the meeting that “An investigation was opened into Co-Trainer N Purdon failing to appear before the Stewards after being directed to do so”.

Mr Muirhead said that he waited several days and did not hear from Mr Purdon, so he telephoned him again. Mr Purdon said he was busy with his horses and he made a mistake.

Mr Purdon was present at the hearing and said that on the night he had 3 horses racing and he was there on his own. He said that there were considerable demands on him because the earlier horse to race KRUG had won its race and had a growing reputation. As a result, numerous people were around the stalls to see the horse and he was fielding many enquiries. He said his phone kept ringing and he did not have time to answer it, so he turned it off.

When asked by the Committee why he did not call Mr Muirhead the next day or the one after he could not give an answer.

DECISION:

Mr Purdon has admitted the breach and therefore the charge is upheld.

PENALTY SUBMISSIONS:

Mr Muirhead said that this offence was essentially one of strict liability. He said for Stewards to properly run race meetings all participants need to respond to Stewards’ directions. He said that despite Mr Dooley speaking to him on racenight and he telephoning him Mr Purdon did not respond at all.

Mr Muirhead referred to a previous decision in February 2019 of RIU v K Barclay which was dealt with by way of a fine. He said that the starting point penalty in the JCA Guidelines was a fine of $500 but as Mr Purdon had not previously breached this Rule and he had admitted the breach on this occasion he submitted that a $400 was appropriate.

Mr Purdon accepted that a fine would be imposed but also referred to his evidence about being very busy on racenight.

REASONS FOR DECISION:

A breach of this Rule is a serious matter and the Stewards need to properly carry out their functions on racenight. It is essential (and required under the Rules) that they receive co-operation from all those listed in the Rule. It is a concern that Mr Purdon had not contacted Mr Muirhead several days after racenight and contact was only made when Mr Muirhead rang again.

There is one previous decision under this Rule, and it was pointed out to Mr Purdon that his excuses for not responding were very similar to Ms Barclay’s.

The Committee has taken the starting point penalty of $500 and has given Mr Purdon credit for his admission of the breach. That of course was inevitable given the evidence that has been presented. Mr Purdon was advised that in the interests of consistency the Committee will impose the same penalty as that given to Ms Barclay.

PENALTY

Mr Purdon is fined the sum of $400.

Mr BJ Scott

(Chairman)

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