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VCAT Aquanita penalty decision confirmed

Racing Victoria (RV) advises that it received notification in writing late this afternoon (Tuesday, 31 December 2019) from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on its penalty decisions regarding the appeals lodged by trainers Robert Smerdon, Tony Vasil and Stuart Webb in the Aquanita Case.

In September 2019 VCAT found Smerdon, Vasil and Webb guilty of breaching Australian Rule of Racing 229 (1)(a) for dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent, improper or dishonourable practice in that they were party to the administration of alkalinising agents and/or medications to a horse or horses on raceday.

Today VCAT affirmed the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board decision that for breaching Australian Rule of Racing 229 (1)(a) Mr Smerdon is disqualified for life and is ordered to pay a fine of $90,000. The fine is to be paid by 30 June 2020.

The decision in relation to Mr Vasil is a disqualification period of 18 months starting today.

As a result of the appeal Mr Webb’s disqualification will be for a period of 18 months back dated to commence on 15 January 2018. This is due to Mr Webb being stood down from training since that date and not seeking a stay of the RAD Board decision. As a result the disqualification period has been completed.

Quotes attributable to RV Executive General Manager Integrity Services – Jamie Stier

“Enforcing the Rules of Racing is critical to the sustainability of the sport and ensuring all those doing the right thing are protected and know when they turn up to the track it’s on a level playing field.

“We welcome the Tribunal’s decision to find Robert Smerdon, Tony Vasil and Stuart Webb guilty of serious offences that have undermined the integrity of the sport and acknowledge the penalties handed down.”