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Non Raceday Inquiry - NZTR v JL Annett 23 September 2010 - Decision

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656(3)

Non Raceday Inquiry – NZTR v Jeana Louise Annett

23rd September 2010 Decision

 

 

Rules: 656 (3)

 

NZTR v J. L. Annett

 

Non Raceday inquiry

 

Held at Otaki Racecourse on Thursday 23rd September 2010

 

Judicial Committee:       T. W. Castles Chairman

                                      P. Williams

 

Present:                        Mr. Ross Neal (Senior Stipendiary Steward)

                                     Miss J. L. Annett (Defendant)

 

 

 

Decision of Judicial Committee

 

23rd September 2010

 

1.      Nature of the charge

 

1.1  Miss Annett is charged that on Friday 3rd September 2010 at Otaki, being a rider who, having being requested by a Stipendiary Steward to supply a sample of her urine which was found, upon analysis, to contain the controlled drug Cannabis as defined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, committed a breach of Rule 656 (3) of the New Zealand Rules of Racing AND THAT you are thereby liable to the penalty or penalties which may be imposed upon you pursuant to the provisions of Rule 803 of the said rules.

 

1.2  Rule 656 (3) provides as follows:

“A rider who, having been required by a Stipendiary Steward or Investigator to supply a sample of his blood, breath, urine, saliva or sweat (or more than one thereof) in accordance with this Rule must not have blood, breath, urine, saliva or sweat (whichever is the subject of the applicable sample) which is found upon analysis to contain any controlled drug as defined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 or other illicit substance or diuretic and/or its metabolites, artifacts or isomers.

 

1.3  Miss Annett admitted the charge and acknowledged that she had received a copy of Rule 656 (3) and the she understood the rule.

  

 

2.      Fact

 

2.1  Mr. Neal provided written authority from the Chief Executive of NZTR to proceed with the charge against Miss Annett and he also presented a “Summary of Facts” relating to this charge.

 

2.2  On Friday 3rd September 2010 NZTR officials attended Otaki Racecourse for the purpose of conducting drug testing on persons riding track work that morning.

 

2.3  Miss Annett, who holds a Class B Trainers Licence, was one of the persons selected to be tested.  She was served with the appropriate notice and directed to attend the testing station prior to leaving the course that day.

 

2.4  Miss Annett duly attended the testing station as requested and supplied a sample of her urine which was given a unique ID number and that sample was delivered to the ESR Laboratory by Senior Steward Neal the following day.

 

2.5  NZTR received a certificate from ESR dated 7th September 2010 stating that the sample had tested positive to cannabis (Copy of document provided)

 

2.6  On Tuesday 14th September 2010, Miss Annett was handed a copy of the ESR certificate and a stand down notice pursuant to Rule 657 (1) (b). (Produced in evidence).

 

2.7  The defendant when interviewed stated she had used cannabis at her home some 10 days prior to the testing date.

 

2.8  During the process of testing and subsequent interview, Miss Annett was totally cooperative and provided open and honest answers to all enquiries.

 

 

3.      Penalty Submissions by Mr. Neal for NZTR

 

3.1  NZTR commenced drug testing riders in 1995 and since this time there has been growing awareness that an absolute obligation rests with those riding horses to present themselves free of the influence of any drug or drugs at all times.

 

3.2  NZTR has an illicit drugs-free policy in terms of all riders whether they are riding in races, trials or track work.  Racing Clubs who operate training facilities are also mindful that they have an obligation to provide a safe working environment.

 

3.3  These policies relating to drugs have been well gazetted and riders have been made fully aware of the potential consequences should they imbibe in such drugs.

 

3.4  In fact drug testing of riders is now an important aspect of the New Zealand thoroughbred racing industry and it is carried out for the reasons of maintaining the integrity of the industry and just as importantly it is conducted for reasons of maintaining health and safety in the workplace.

 

3.5  In addition to the workplace and integrity aspects it is important that riders do not unduly put at risk horses of value and worth by way of them taking or administering an illicit substance.

 

3.6  The fact that a rider has the presence of an illicit substance in his or her system represents a real risk to not only themselves but also to others.

 

3.7  Penalties imposed against track riders relating to cannabis offending have, in recent times, been a modest suspension of their rider’s licence coupled with a fine.  In the main penalties for first offenders has been by way of suspension of 6 weeks plus a fine in the region of $200.

 

3.8  Mr. Neal produced a table of recent breaches relating to cannabis use which showed penalties ranging from 4 week suspensions up to and including 6 week suspensions.

 

3.9  It is acknowledged that while the reading in this case falls in the low to mid range regions there rests with the Defendant an absolute duty to present herself free of any drugs on the day of testing.  A duty which she did not discharge.

 

3.10          The defendant is a well established trainer in the C.D.  She has been licensed as a trainer since 1991 and held an amateur riding licence between 1995 and 1998.  She has had no previous breaches of this rule and has cooperated fully with the officials.

 

3.11          Having recognition of all the factors, it is the Informant’s submissions that the appropriate penalty to be imposed in this case should be a suspension of 4 to 6 weeks of the Defendants riders licence together with a fine of $200.00.

 

 

4.      Penalty Submissions by Miss Annett

 

4.1       Miss Annett added little in her submissions.  She informed the committee it was a spur of the moment decision to take cannabis and she was unaware how long it stays in the body.


4.2       She is a solo mother and horses have been and will continue to be her interest.  Miss Annett added she supplements her income by working also away from horses.

 

 

5.      Decision and Reason

 

5.1       In coming to a decision as to penalty this Committee carefully considered all of the evidence put before it as well as the penalty submissions.

 

5.2       We took into account Miss Annett’s full and frank admission of the breach and her full cooperation with officials.

 

5.3       The integrity of racing however in paramount and the racing industry has made it quite clear that drugs will not be tolerated.  The safety of both horse and riders is at risk if riders are under the influence of drugs.

 

5.4       Miss Annett had been fully informed of similar first offences under this rule and the penalties sought and obtained to which she was in total agreement.

 

5.5       A list of penalties put before us for cannabis range from 4 to 6 week suspensions.  It is the opinion of this committee that Miss Annett’s breach falls in the lower end of this range.

 

5.6       In view of the fact that Miss Annett’s licence was withdrawn on 13th September 2010 (but not presented to her until the 14th September 2010), we formally reinstate her licence as at the date 23rd September 2010.

 

5.7       Taking all of the above matters into account we are satisfied that an appropriate penalty in this case is a suspension of Miss Annett’s licence for a period of 4 weeks.  The suspension is to take effect as from the date on the issue of the “licence withdrawal notice” which is 13th September 2010 and is to end on 11th October 2010, both dates inclusive.  A fine of $200.00 is also to be imposed.

 

5.8       As the hearing was held prior to a race day, no costs were sought by NZTR or the JCA.

 

 

 

 

___________                                                                       __________

T. W. Castles                                                                      P. Williams

Chairman

 

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