VIC – HRV RAD Board Process Change

06 December 2017
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Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) notifies the industry of a change in the process through which serious offence matters may be determined by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board, which will address delays in progressing these matters to a hearing.

Over recent months the HRV Integrity Department has consulted with HRV RAD Board Chair Alanna Duffy and Deputy Chair Brian Collis QC, the Office of Racing, and the committee of the Victorian Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association (VHRTDA), who all support the change.

The HRV Board approved the process and rule change at its November Board Meeting and the changes were gazetted on 23 November 2017.

Current Process

The HRV RAD Board commenced operation in March 2010, and since that time there has been a significant increase in the number of serious offence hearings determined by the RAD Board each year.

Presently, all persons charged by HRV Stewards for a serious offence receive a full brief of evidence which is a time-consuming and onerous task considering that a review of the matters since 2013 indicates that approximately 75 per cent of serious offence matters before the RAD Board were resolved by way of a guilty plea.

The following amendment will still offer any person charged with a serious offence the opportunity to be provided with a full brief of evidence, however will afford others who intend to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity with the option of a ‘summary’ hearing.

Amendment

For breaches of the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) committed on or after 1 January 2018, the person who has committed the alleged breach will receive a formal letter from the HRV Integrity Department that will include (1) charge sheet(s) and particulars of the charge(s); (2) a summary of the alleged offending outlining the full factual circumstances of the case with references to supporting evidence; and (3) a copy of their Personal Offence Report.

In addition to the above, the licensed participant would receive an ‘Early Plea Intention Form’. This document would require the participant to indicate their plea intention in relation to the charge(s), before a full brief of evidence is prepared.

While the nature and extent of any penalty imposed remains a matter for the HRV RAD Board, general sentencing principles would provide that any person who pleads guilty at the earliest opportunity and is cooperative throughout an investigation would be expected to obtain a less severe penalty.

Relevant Legislation and Local Rules

The Racing Act 1958 (Vic) s 50M states:

50M  Hearing of serious offences by HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board

(1)     If a person has been charged with a serious offence under the rules, the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board must hear and determine the serious offence.

(2)     The person who, or body that, has charged a person with a serious offence must provide the Boards Registrar with prescribed details of the charge not more than 2 days after the person charged has been given those prescribed details.

(3)     The Boards Registrar must give the Chairperson a copy of the prescribed details of the charge as soon as reasonably practicable.

(4)     As soon as is reasonably practicable after the Chairperson receives the prescribed details of the charge, the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board must advise, in writing, the person charged with a serious offence and the person or body that charged the person, of —

(a)     the date and time of the hearing of the charge; and

(b)     the venue at which the hearing will be held.

New Victorian Local Rule (VLR) 49(3):

(3) Details of charge:

(a)     In any case where the Stewards have decided to lay a charge pursuant to VLR 49(1), the Stewards must provide to the person a notice of charge specifying:

(i)      the offence; and

          (ii)  the particulars of the facts and circumstances relating to the alleged commission of the offence; and

(iii)   a summary of the circumstances relevant to the alleged rule breach or breaches

(b)     Subject to VLR 49(3)(c), in conjunction with the notice of charge referred to in VLR 49(3)(a), the Stewards must provide to the person charged by the Stewards copies of any complaint, report, videotape evidence, witness statements and other evidence which will be relied upon to support the charge.

(c)     The Stewards are not required to provide the person charged with the items referred to in VLR 49(3)(b) if the person charged notifies the HRV RAD Board within 14 days of being issued with a charge that they intend to plead guilty to the charge and consent to the hearing proceeding summarily.

(d)     The Stewards must provide the Registrar of the HRV RAD Board with a copy of the notice of charge and any material that accompanied the notice no later than 2 days after the notice of charge has been provided to the person charged by the Stewards.

Notice of hearing:

Upon receipt of the materials referred to in VLR 49(3)(d), the HRV RAD Board must as soon as is reasonably practicable notify the Stewards and the person charged by the Stewards of the date of the hearing.

Any questions about this change in the HRV RAD Board process should be directed to the HRV Integrity Department on (03) 8378 0222

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