Champion NSW driver Greg Bennett was found not guilty of six charges of corruption laid against him by the Department of Public Prosecution at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court today.
Bennett faced six charges of corruptly giving former HRNSW steward Matthew Bentley money to ensure horses were not swabbed - to which he pleaded not guilty. The jury took very little time to hand down its decision.
It is understood top Sydney lawyer Charlie Waterstreet for Greg Bennett won the day with a strong closing address. Waterstreet pointed out that Mathew Bentley was not a reliable witness and that he gave changed information in his statements;
Prosecutor for the DPP Guy Newton took little time to summarize for the jury.
The Crown case was heavily reliant on the evidence of indemnified Bentley, who had admitted his corrupt nature. Bentley’s evidence was substantial and supported by the phone records based on phone intercepts.
The nature of Bentley and Bennett’s relationship was also drawn into question.
The case which ran for over three weeks saw the first two juries excused and some DPP evidence rejected by Justice Bennett (no relation).
Bentley, who had immunity from prosecution, was in the witness box for four days, giving evidence against Bennett.
It was admitted and agreed by both the accused (Bennett) and the accuser (Bentley) that they had a close telephone relationship and they would communicated daily and at all hours.
However Bennett said it was through friendship whilst Bentley claimed it was to carry out corrupt practices.
There is little doubt they are now not friends and the jury did not believe the corruption line.
Bennett admitted that he never met with Bentley and that the association was one that took place only over the telephone. He also admitted that no one else knew of the 'clandestine' relationship.
Greg Bennett's team relied on evidence only from Jim Bennett (father) and leading NSW official John Baker. Witnesses called upon by the DPP were HRNSW chief executive officer Sam Nati, integrity manager Reid Sanders, senior steward Chris Paul, former steward Bill Cable as well as NSW detective senior constables Paul King and Eric Burgess as well as vet Brian Stewart.