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Non Raceday Inquiry NZTR v G Long 5 March 2010 - decision



1001.1.k
1001.2

NZTR v GRANT EDWARD LONG

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 Grant Long

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

5th March 2010


1. NATURE OF THE CHARGE

1.1 Mr Long is charged that on or about the 3rd 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 Stablehand 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 GRANT EDWARD LONG

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 Grant Long

DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

5th March 2010


1. NATURE OF THE CHARGE

1.1 Mr Long is charged that on or about the 3rd 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 Stablehand 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 Long admitted the charge.  He further acknowledged that he had received copies of Rules 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 Long.

2.2 Mr John McKenzie presented to the Committee a Summary of Facts and said that as a result of enquiries conducted by Investigators into another matter then as a matter of course the application by Mr Long for registration as a Stablehand in 2008 was reviewed.

2.3 A copy of the application form was produced to this hearing and it was completed under the name of Grant Edward Long.  It had been signed and declared by Mr Long that all information supplied was true and accurate.  The form was dated the 5th of June 2008 and had an NZTR receipt date stamp of the 3rd of July 2008 on it. 

2.4 Mr Long acknowledged that it was his signature on the form. 


2.5 The Application for registration as a Stablehand that was signed by Mr Long 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 Long answered “No”.

2.6 As a result of Mr Long answering no to question 4 on the Application for Registration, he was registered by NZTR as a Stablehand pursuant to the Rules.

2.7 On the 20th February 2010 Mr Long was spoken to about the matter.  He was shown the application form and he acknowledged that he had completed the form and signed it.  He admitted the answer to question 4 was not true.  In explanation he stated that the conviction was old and he also referred to the fact that when he had gone to work in the Racing industry in Australia some years ago he had to produce something that showed he had not committed any serious crimes. Mr McKenzie said that NZTR had no evidence of any document previously produced by Mr Long that was required by Australian Racing Authorities.

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

2.9 Mr Long for his part acknowledged that the facts presented by Mr McKenzie were correct.

2.10 Mr Long 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 properly and continue to be involved in racing.

 Mr Long said that he had worked in the racing industry for 23 years and it was his life.  He had tried other work some years ago but had gone back to the racing industry and that it is the work that he knows.

2.11 Mr Long did say that prior to completing the form he did speak with a Policeman in Cambridge and told him about his convictions and he understood from the Policeman that he (Mr Long) was able to have the benefit of the provisions of the Criminal Convictions (Clean Slate) Act 1994.

2.12 Mr John McKenzie pointed out to this Committee that because of Mr Longs most recent offending he would not have had the benefit of that Act.

2.13 In a response to a question from this Committee Mr Long said that he knew that  when he was completing the form that the answer to question 4 was incorrect.

2.14 Mr Long 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 and he was prepared to take any penalty imposed on him.
 

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 Long had have been uncertain of his position he could have enquired of one of the Racecourse Inspectors or 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 Long because of the nature of his last conviction and he is required to give notice to NZTR when completing the application form.

3.5 Mr McKenzie said that Mr Long would probably have qualified for an exemption under Section 34 of the Racing Act 2003 but by his actions Mr Long 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 Long.

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 Long arose out of stupidity and ignorance.  He had not gained any benefit from a third party and he could probably have obtained a Licence if he had have completed the application form correctly.

3.9 Mr McKenzie said that Mr Long 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 Long 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 G LONG

4.1 Mr Long 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 Long 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 Long the extent of the penalties set out in Rule 1001(2) and also pointed out to Mr Long 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 Long 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 Long 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 Long 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 Long’s actions were as a result of stupidity and ignorance.  We think more stupidity rather than ignorance.  Mr Long may not have gained any benefit from a third party but he did gain a Stablehand Licence.

5.9 We are told that Mr Long is a married man aged 32 years and he has two children and 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 Long 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 Long 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 Long and in addition to that there will be an order for Mr Long 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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