The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) conducted a directions hearing on 25 July 2018 regarding the appeals lodged by Robert Smerdon, Tony Vasil, Stuart Webb and Liam Birchley against the disqualifications handed to them by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board in the Aquanita Case.
At the directions hearing, VCAT set a tentative date of 12 December 2018 for the commencement of these four appeal hearings and a parallel appeal by Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards against the length of the disqualification issued to Mr Birchley. VCAT established that it would collectively require two weeks to hear the five appeals.
Assuming this timetable is confirmed, a decision on the outcome of the Aquanita appeals will not come before the first quarter of 2019 and may well be delivered beyond that. The timing will ultimately be decided by VCAT.
Owners are advised that, at the directions hearing, RV informed VCAT that any discussion on the possible disqualification of relevant horses to the Aquanita Case should not be considered by the RAD Board until after VCAT has heard and passed judgement on these appeals.
Following the outcome of the VCAT appeals, RV Stewards will consider whether an application(s) should be made to the RAD Board with respect to the disqualification of any particular horse(s). RV would communicate to the owners of any horse that is the subject of such an application by the Stewards at that time. The decision on whether a horse is disqualified rests with the RAD Board.
Until such time as all appeals have been completed, it remains inappropriate for RV to publicly discuss any evidence and thus RV is still not in a position to engage with the owners of horses that may have participated in races that are relevant to the Aquanita Case.
It is RV’s intention to provide a further update to all Victorian owners at the conclusion of the VCAT appeals.