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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v N R McGrath - Decision as to Costs dated 20 July 2020 - Chair, J H Lovell-Smith

Created on 22 July 2020

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF

THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY

UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003

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

BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU)

Informant

AND NIGEL RAYMOND MCGRATH

Licensed Public Trainer

Respondent

Information Nos: A11684, A11685, A11686

Judicial Committee: JH Lovell-Smith, Chair

Mr T Utikere, Member

Counsel for RIU: Mr B Dickey

Counsel for Respondent: Mr P Hall QC

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE DECISION AS TO COSTS DATED 20 JULY 2020

The Respondent, Mr McGrath is a Licensed Public Trainer and Open Horseman. The Informant filed Informations alleging breaches of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing (the Rules) in March 2020.

Mr McGrath admitted the breaches but disputed certain facts.

A disputed facts hearing was heard on 13 June 2020. The Committee reserved their decision which was delivered in writing on 3 July 2020. All disputed facts were found to be proved and Mr McGrath was disqualified for 8 years. In our decision we made directions for the filing of written submissions by the Informant and the Respondent to costs including the JCA costs.

The Informant’s position is that it has incurred costs in the sum of $11,905 (exclusive of GST) for investigating and prosecuting Mr McGrath’s breaches of the Rules. This sum represents preparation, travel and appearance time in respect of the Informations and hearing time by external Counsel.

Not included in this sum are disbursements such as travel to Christchurch or preparation of costs submissions.

This sum does not include internal investigation costs incurred by the RIU or the costs of its preparation and travel, associated witness expenses, for the hearing.

The Informant acknowledges that the Committee may award a proportion of the total costs in accordance with its usual practice.

In this case the Informant submits that the disputed facts hearing was required only because of Mr McGrath’s breaches of the Rules. Had Mr McGrath complied with the Rules there would have been no scope for him to dispute the relevant facts as the Informant would have had real evidence of those matters from the outset.

Mr Hall QC submits on behalf Mr McGrath that any order for costs will cause substantial hardship to the respondent and more particularly his family as the length of his disqualification effectively left him without an income stream.

He also refers to his submissions made in respect of this matter at the hearing on 13 June 2020.

Mr Hall QC acknowledges that costs generally follow the event. “A significant award will cause hardship for the hostages to fortune in this case, namely the Respondent’s wife and two young children”.

We agree with the Informant’s submission that in this case the disputed facts hearing was required only because of Mr McGrath’s breaches of the Rules. In our view, this is a case in which an award of costs in full could be made.

However, we take into account submissions of Mr Hall QC as to the hardship Mr McGrath and more particularly his family will suffer as a result of his disqualification.

For these reasons, we order the Respondent to pay $7,143 being 60% of the costs sought by the Informant. We further order that the Respondent pay $2,000 to the JCA being a contribution only to the costs incurred by the JCA in this matter as has been advised by the Executive Officer.

JH Lovell-Smith

Chair

20 July 2020

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