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Non Raceday Inquiry NZTR v S Hubber 5 March 2010 - decision



1001.1.k
1001.2

NZTR v SHANNON HUBBER

NON RACEDAY ENQUIRY

HELD AT TE RAPA RACECOURSE ON FRIDAY THE 5TH MARCH 2010

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE: Mr BJ Scott Chairman,  Mr RM Seabrook

REGISTRAR:     Mr P Williams

PRESENT:         Mr John McKenzie, Chief Racecourse Inspector
                             Mr Bryan McKenzie, Racecourse Inspector
                             Mr Shannon Hubber

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

5th March 2010


1. NATURE OF THE CHARGE

1.1 Mr Hubber is charged that on or about the 13th day of July 2009 he did commit a Serious Racing Offence within the meaning of Rule 1001(1)(k) of the New Zealand Rules of Racing in that he did wilfully supply false information to NZTR in a matter connected with racing namely that on a NZTR Application For Registration Form for a Trackwork Rider’s Licence he wrote the word “No” in answer to a question as to whether he had ever been convicted in a District or other Court of any offence against the Statutory Laws of New Zealand or any other country knowing such answer to be false and he is accordingly liable to the penalty or penalties which may be imposed upon him pursuant to the provisions of Rule 1001(2) of the said Rules.

 



NZTR v SHANNON HUBBER

NON RACEDAY ENQUIRY

HELD AT TE RAPA RACECOURSE ON FRIDAY THE 5TH MARCH 2010

JUDICIAL COMMITTEE: Mr BJ Scott Chairman,  Mr RM Seabrook

REGISTRAR:     Mr P Williams

PRESENT:         Mr John McKenzie, Chief Racecourse Inspector
                             Mr Bryan McKenzie, Racecourse Inspector
                             Mr Shannon Hubber

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

5th March 2010


1. NATURE OF THE CHARGE

1.1 Mr Hubber is charged that on or about the 13th day of July 2009 he did commit a Serious Racing Offence within the meaning of Rule 1001(1)(k) of the New Zealand Rules of Racing in that he did wilfully supply false information to NZTR in a matter connected with racing namely that on a NZTR Application For Registration Form for a Trackwork Rider’s Licence he wrote the word “No” in answer to a question as to whether he had ever been convicted in a District or other Court of any offence against the Statutory Laws of New Zealand or any other country knowing such answer to be false and he is accordingly liable to the penalty or penalties which may be imposed upon him pursuant to the provisions of Rule 1001(2) of the said Rules.

1.2 Rule 1001(1)(k) provides “ Every person commits a serious racing offence within the meaning of these Rules who, in New Zealand or any other country wilfully supplies any false or misleading information, or makes any false or misleading declaration or statement, respecting any matter connected with racing or otherwise under these Rules to a Judicial Committee, an Appeals Tribunal, the Board of Thoroughbred Racing, the Stewards or Committee of a Club, a Stipendiary Steward, a Racecourse Inspector or any other Body, tribunal or person, or wilfully makes a false or misleading statement in support of an application for any payment out of the General Trust Fund; or in, or in connection with, any application for registration of a horse wilfully gives or causes to be given, or is knowingly a party to the giving of, any false or misleading information or particulars”.

1.3 Rule 1001(2) provides “Every person who commits a serious racing offence shall be liable to the following penalties:

(a) disqualification for any specific period or for life; or
(b) suspension form holding or obtaining a licence, permit, certificate or registration for a period not exceeding 12 months.  If a licence, permit, certificate or registration is renewed during a term of suspension, then the suspension shall continue to apply to the renewed licence, permit, certificate or registration; and/or
(c) a fine not exceeding $25,000.

1.4 Mr Hubber admitted the charge.  He further acknowledged that he had received copies of Rule 1001(1)(k) and 1001(2) and that he understood those Rules.

2 FACTS

2.1 Mr John McKenzie provided to the Committee written authority from the Chief Executive of NZTR to proceed with the charge against Mr Hubber.

2.2 Mr John McKenzie presented to the Committee a Summary of Facts which stated that on Monday the 8th of February 2010 NZTR Investigators conducted drug testing on a number of riders who had ridden trackwork at the Te Aroha Racecourse Training Centre on that morning.  Mr Shannon Hubber was one of the riders selected for testing.

2.3 After he had supplied the sample Mr Hubber was specifically asked by an Investigator if he had ever been convicted of any criminal offences in Court.  He stated that he had not.  He claimed to have only had some traffic convictions.

2.4 The Application for registration of a trackwork rider that was signed by Mr Hubber included the question “have you ever been convicted in a District or other Court of any offence against the Statutory Laws of New Zealand or any other country? Yes or No.  If yes provide full details”.  Mr Hubber answered “No”.  Mr McKenzie produced as an exhibit to the Committee a copy of Mr Hubber’s application for registration as a trackwork rider.  This application being dated the 13th July 2009.  Mr Hubber acknowledged his signature on the form.

2.5 As a result of Mr Hubber answering no to question 4 on the Application for Registration, he was registered by NZTR as a trackwork rider pursuant to the Rules.

2.6 On the 17th February 2010 at the time that Mr Hubber was served with a hearing notice in respect to another matter he was asked again about his criminal history.  The Investigator stressed to him the importance of being truthful.  Mr Hubber then admitted the fact that he did have certain criminal convictions.

2.7 Mr Hubber was shown a copy of his application for registration and he admitted that he had not told the truth about his criminal convictions.

2.8 Mr Hubber then gave a written statement in which he acknowledged that he had incorrectly answered no to question 4 in his application for registration.  He said that the reason for doing so was that he was scared if he put down the true situation it would stop him from getting a job in racing.  He also said that the offences committed by him were when he was up in Auckland and he was much younger.

2.9  Mr Hubber said in his written statement that he realised now that it was a silly thing to do and he was sorry for his actions.

2.10 The written statement was produced to this Committee.

2.11 Mr McKenzie advised this Committee that if Mr Hubber had have answered yes to question 4 then his application would have been referred to an Investigator.  In that event Mr Hubber could have made an application for an exemption.

2.12 Mr Hubber for his part acknowledged that the facts presented by Mr McKenzie were correct.

2.13 Mr Hubber expressed to this Committee that he was sorry for what he had done and he acknowledged that he should have been truthful.  He was wanting to put it all behind him and get on with his life property and continue to be involved in racing.

2.14 In response to a question from this Committee Mr Hubber said that his offences were approximately ten years ago and he may have had a benefit under the provisions of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 1004.

 Mr John McKenzie pointed out to this Committee that Mr Hubber’s most recent offending was in 2005 (this was acknowledged by him) and accordingly he would have not had the benefit of that Act.

2.15 Mr Hubber acknowledged his guilt and advised this Committee that he was sorry for what he had done.  He realised that he had been stupid in answering the question incorrectly.  

3. PENALTY SUBMISSIONS BY NZTR

3.1 Mr McKenzie in his submissions said that honesty is a fundamental cornerstone in Racing.  He said that NZTR does not require applications for licences to be completed as Statutory Declarations but rather that NZTR relies on the honesty of those completing them.

3.2 NZTR has a transparent policy of licensing and the completion and signing procedures are the same for all types of licence applications.

3.3 Mr McKenzie said that Section 4 of the application form clearly shows what is required.  It is simple and explicit and he said that if Mr Hubber had have been uncertain of his position he could have enquired of one of the Racecourse Inspectors of similar persons as to how to answer that question.

3.4 Mr McKenzie confirmed that the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 did not apply to Mr Hubber because his last conviction was within a seven year period and it requires him to give notice to NZTR when completing the application form.

3.5 Mr McKenzie said that Mr Hubber would probably have qualified for an exemption under Section 34 of the Racing Act 2003 but by his actions Mr Hubber had instead put himself in a position where he was facing a charge.

3.6 Mr McKenzie drew this Committees attention to the principles of sentencing previously set out in the NZTR v P in (1994) and NZTR v C in (2009).  The Committee is aware of these principles of sentencing and Mr McKenzie highlighted the main parts of those principles for the benefit of Mr Hubber.

3.7 Mr McKenzie pointed out that this is a serious racing offence and that this hearing was one of the first hearings in relation to incorrectly completed Licence Applications.

3.8 Mr McKenzie however submitted that the actions of Mr Hubber arose out of stupidity and ignorance.  He had not gained any benefit from a third party and he could have obtained a Licence even if he had have completed the application form correctly.

3.9 Mr McKenzie said that Mr Hubber was a man of limited means and any penalty would have an effect on him and in recognition of this NZTR would look at making arrangements with Mr Hubber to pay off any fine.

3.10 Mr McKenzie submitted on behalf of NZTR that taking all matters into account including the sentencing principles set out in NZTR v P that he was seeking a fine of $350.00 with costs to NZTR of $150.00.

4. PENALTY SUBMISSIONS BY MR S HUBBER

4.1 Mr Hubber for his part apologised for what he had done.  He now realises the stupidity of his actions and he can see that he will be subject to a penalty for such actions.  He also realises after hearing Mr McKenzie that he if had have completed the form correctly then he would not be before the Committee today.

4.2 Mr Hubber needs his Licence to continue working and he accepts that a penalty will be imposed on him.


5. DECISION AND PENALTY

5.1 In coming to a decision as to penalty this Committee has listened to the facts presented to it and has also listened to the submissions of both parties.

5.2 The Committee took the opportunity to point out to Mr Hubber the extent of the penalties set out in Rule 1001(2) and also pointed out to Mr Hubber that if he was being dealt with under the new Rules of Racing that the maximum fine had now increased to $50.000.00

5.3 The Committee also pointed out to Mr Hubber the recommendation in the JCA Guidelines for this sort of offence was a penalty of six months disqualification. 

5.4 These penalties were pointed out to Mr Hubber to show him the seriousness of the situation.

5.5 The Committee is only too aware that integrity goes to the very basis of Racing of all codes.  If integrity is not present in Racing then the confidence of all those involved will disappear and Racing would be badly affected.

5.6 The Committee notes that NZTR’s applications for licences are not in the form of Statutory Declarations and accordingly the paramount principle with these applications is that those who are completing them do so honestly and correctly.  Mr Hubber has failed in that regard.

5.7 All of those who are involved in racing and all of those who make application for licences each year must be very conscious of the fact that they must be honest when completing application forms and must be aware of the penalties under the Rules of Racing for those who are dishonest.

5.8 Mr McKenzie has been very fair in presenting the case for NZTR and he has pointed out that Mr Hubber’s actions were as a result of stupidity and ignorance.  We think more stupidity rather than ignorance.  Mr Hubber may not have gained any benefit from a third party but he did gain a Trackwork Riders Licence.

5.9 We are told that Mr Hubber is a single man aged 32 years and he has very limited means.  Any penalty imposed upon him will have quite have an effect on him and Mr McKenzie has acknowledged this by advising this Committee of the possibility of payment of any fine and/or costs to NZTR by instalment.

5.10 In imposing penalty this Committee gives Mr Hubber credit for his guilty plea and also for the fact that he as apologised to NZTR Racecourse Inspectors and to this Committee for what he has done.  It is clear that Mr Hubber now realises the stupidity of his actions.

5.11 The Committee therefore after taking into account all of the above imposes a fine of $400.00 on Mr Hubber and in addition to that there will be a order for Mr Hubber to pay costs of $150.00 to NZTR and $200.00 to the Judicial Control Authority.

           
BJ Scott                  RM Seabrook
Chairman              Committee
     

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