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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v S Hodson - Reserved Decision dated 13 August 2018 - Chair, Prof G Hall

Created on 14 August 2018

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

OF THE JCA

IN THE MATTER of the Rules of New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association (Incorporated)

BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU)

Informant

AND MRS SUE HODSON, Club Secretary

Respondent

Information: A10902

Judicial Committee: Prof G Hall, Chairman

Mr P Williams, Member

Appearing: Mr G Whiterod, Chief Stipendiary Steward (Greyhound)

The respondent in person

RESERVED DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

[1] The RIU has laid Information A10902, which alleges that on 6 August 2018 Mrs S Hodson failed to take a dog, namely BIGTIME PHANTOM, out of race 14 until after scratching time thereby denying a reserve dog a start. This is an alleged breach of r 62.1(o) of the GRNZ Rules of Racing.

[2] Rule 62.1(o) provides:

Any person (including an Official) commits an offence if he/she has, in relation to a Greyhound or Greyhound racing, done a thing, or omitted to do a thing which is negligent, dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent or improper, or constitutes misconduct.

[3] The RIU has alleged that the respondent’s actions were negligent.

[4] A teleconference was held on 8 August at which Mrs Hodson indicated that she admitted the breach. It was agreed that the matter would be heard “on the papers”. We have received brief written submissions from the parties.

[5] The summary of facts is to the point. At the Palmerston North GRC meeting on 6 August 2018, BIGTIME PHANTOM was entered in two races. The dog was 1st reserve in race 13 and 1st reserve in race 14. As a result of a scratching in race 13, BIGTIME PHANTOM gained entry into that field. Unfortunately Mrs Hodson did not take the dog out of race 14. A short time later a dog was scratched from race 14 and the respondent in error also added BIGTIME PHANTOM to that field. When the error by Mrs Hodson was discovered, it was too late to reinstate a dog into the field for race 14. This resulted in the 2nd reserve for that race, OPAWA CHEVIOT, missing out on a start.

[6] The Stewards submitted that a small fine would be an appropriate penalty. The RIU observed that Mrs Hodson had only recently started in the role of Secretary of the Palmerston North GRC. She thus had limited experience with matters such as this. Mrs Hodson has sought guidance from Mrs Trass at the Wanganui Club for the future and the Stewards stated they viewed this breach as a learning experience for Mrs Hodson.

[7] Mrs Hodson confirmed the summary of facts. She stated BIGTIME PHANTOM gained a start in race 13 at 5 pm on Sunday 5 August. She texted Mr B Cole to inform him of this. She failed to notice at that time that BIGTIME PHANTOM was also a reserve in race 14. At 9.15 that evening she received a text from Mr S McInerney stating that COSMIC ODETTE was scratched from race 14, which allowed BIGTIME PHANTOM a start in that race. Mrs Hodson texted this to Mr Cole at 9.20 pm. Because of the large number of BIGTIME dogs, the respondent failed to recognise that this was the same dog. She did not realise her mistake until 8.00 am Monday morning.

[8] Mrs Hodson told this Committee that she had been doing the scratchings for the past three weeks in a relieving capacity and since the breach she had spoken to Mrs Trass as to how she managed scratchings, and her intention was to duplicate that method.

[9] As Mrs Hodson has admitted the breach, the charge is found to be proved.

[10] Mrs Hodson is clearly inexperienced with respect to scratching processes. The breach occurred on a Sunday evening when she failed to realise that BIGTIME PHANTOM was a reserve for more than one race. And with the large number of dogs with the prefix BIGTIME, she failed to realise she had texted Mr Cole to the effect that it was the same dog that had obtained a start in races 13 and 14.

[11] Unfortunately the error led to OPAWA CHEVIOT not being able to re-enter the field in race 14 as Mrs Hodson realised her mistake too late to permit this. The error by Mrs Hodson is clearly an act of negligence at the lower end of the scale. The aggravating feature being that a dog was denied a start through her actions.

[12] Mitigating factors are Mrs Hodson’s inexperience and that she has admitted the breach at the first opportunity.

[13] We treat this as Mrs Hodson’s first breach of the Rules. Mr Whiterod has not advised us to the contrary.

[14] We are pleased to be told that Mrs Hodson is obtaining guidance from an experienced administrator. We have not been informed what instruction Mrs Hodson received prior to her taking up her relieving position. It is perhaps stating the obvious, but we emphasise that this instruction should have occurred prior to her commencing these duties.

[15] We have recently dealt with three charges under this rule in RIU v Death, Coutts and Laing 29 June 2018. The circumstances were different but the degrees of negligence in those cases were similar. The penalties were two fines of $100 and one of $125.

[16] We believe Mrs Hodson’s culpability to be at a similar level to the respondents Death and Coutts and impose a similar penalty.

[17] Mrs Hodson is fined the sum of $100.

[18] The matter has been determined on the papers. There is no order for costs.

Dated at Dunedin this 13th day of August 2018.

 

Addendum
[19] It was drawn to the Committee’s attention on 16 August that the greyhound OPAWA CHEVIOT was incorrectly referred to in para [11] as COSMIC ODETTE. The dog that was denied a start was OPAWA CHEVIOT, as stated in para [5] of our decision. The name of the dog in para [11] is altered to OPAWA CHEVIOT, as provided in cl 57 of the 7th Schedule to the GRNZ Rules of Racing (the “slip rule”).

Addendum dated at Hamilton this 16th day of August 2018.


 

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