Racing Victoria (RV) stewards this morning concluded their hearing into Show Cause Notices issued against licensed trainers Darren Weir and Jarrod McLean on Friday, 1 February 2019.
Mr Weir and Mr McLean were asked to show cause why the stewards ought not exercise their powers pursuant to Australian Rule of Racing (AR) 8(z) pending the hearing and determination of charges issued against them by RV stewards on 1 February also. The charges are to be heard on a date to be fixed by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.
The hearing opened on 1 February via teleconference where Mr Weir and Mr McLean were represented by their legal representative who made submissions on their behalf. Mr Weir and Mr McLean, accompanied by legal representatives, attended the resumption of the hearing at RV yesterday to make further submissions.
Among the submissions, the stewards heard that:
• Mr Weir will not contest the three charges issued against him under AR 175(hh)(ii) for possession of an electric or electronic apparatus capable of affecting the performance of a horse; and the charge issued against him under AR175A for conduct prejudicial to the image, interests or welfare of racing; and
• Mr McLean will be contesting the charge issued against him under AR 175(hh)(ii) for possession of an electric or electronic apparatus capable of affecting the performance of a horse; and the charge issued against him under AR175A for conduct prejudicial to the image, interests or welfare of racing;
The stewards deliberated and determined the following:
Stewards will now request that the RAD Board hear and determine the charges laid against Mr Weir at the earliest opportunity. While the decision of penalty is ultimately that of the RAD Board, given the severity of the charges stewards will be seeking disqualification for a period of four years. Mr Weir was informed that this was the stewards’ position before he determined not to contest the charges.
Until such time as the hearing and determination of these charges by the RAD Board and pursuant to AR 8(z), the following conditions have been imposed on Mr Weir with effect from midnight on Monday, 4 February 2019:
• that Mr Weir not be permitted to nominate horses for any races or official trials;
• that any horses trained by Mr Weir that have accepted to race be withdrawn by order of the stewards;
• that Mr Weir not be permitted to accept with any horses that he has nominated;
• that any horse currently nominated for a race, but not accepted, must be transferred from Mr Weir to another trainer with the approval of the stewards prior to acceptance time should the owners wish it to compete in the nominated race; and
• that Mr Weir must divest himself of any registered ownership interest in a registered horse, prior to that horse being permitted to accept for any race.
On the basis that Mr McLean will contest the charges, significant conditions have been imposed on his operation until such time as the charges have been heard and determined by the RAD Board including that Mr McLean not be permitted to receive any horses to train that were in the care of Mr Weir as at 30 January 2019.
Subject to the condition stated above, Mr McLean will be permitted to continue to nominate and accept horses for races and official trials.
In light of the communications between RV stewards and the legal representatives of licensed foreperson Tyson Kermond, Mr Weir and Mr McLean, and the information provided on their behalf since charges were issued on 1 February, stewards have determined that the charges for failing to assist the stewards need not be pursued.
Quotes attributable to RV Executive General Manager – Integrity, Jamie Stier
“This is a complex matter and the stewards were determined to be thorough and give due consideration to the submissions made, their legal advice and the ongoing investigations.
“Darren Weir is facing serious charges of possessing three electrical apparatus and conduct prejudicial to the interests or image of racing. He has advised the stewards that he will not contest those charges which have drawn considerable negative publicity to the sport.
“To that end, stewards have requested that the RAD Board expedite the hearing of Mr Weir’s charges at which point they will be seeking a four-year disqualification.
“Until such time as the RAD Board convenes to hear and determine Mr Weir’s charges, the stewards have imposed strict conditions on his licence that ensure he is not permitted to enter or race any horses as a trainer or owner.
“On the basis that Mr McLean advised the stewards that he will contest the charges against him, significant conditions have also been imposed on his operation until such time as the charges have been heard and determined by the RAD Board.
“In reaching these positions on the Show Cause Notices, the stewards note that investigations remain ongoing and that they reserve the right to act upon any new evidence that comes to hand during the course of those investigations.”