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The harness racing race-fixing scandal has widened, with authorities identifying at least two more allegedly fixed races. Police will allege harness trainer-driver Bart Cockburn, 27, who was charged with four race-fixing offences, was involved in a fix in three separate races from November last year, all at Brisbane’s Albion Park. Cockburn was alleged to have participated in a fix on November 12 last year, when fellow driver-trainer Dayl March was also alleged to have been involved in an organised race result. March was charged with the race-fixing offence under the Queensland Criminal Code earlier in the week. It is understood while both March and Cockburn colluded to win the race on November 12, neither were able to pull off the alleged fix. The Sunday Mail understands Cockburn’s charges also relate to a November 5 race in which he drove the fourth-placed Marty Bee, and a January 27, 2017, race in which he came second on Major Kiwi. Authorities say the alleged fixing charges did not always mean the accused was attempting to win the race. Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett indicated there would be more charges to follow in the coming weeks as the investigation into the fixed races continues to evolve. “This is an emerging picture,” he said. “As we talk to more people and arrest more people, it will deepen our understanding of what is going on in the industry. “Other people will be interviewed and potentially charged in the coming days and weeks.” Part of the police investigation now and in the future will focus on betting activity that has accompanied the alleged fixing activity, where it may have occurred through either legal or illegal methods. Bart Cockburn placed 5th in the 2015-16 drivers’ premiership race, steering home 100 winners in his 676 starts. He amassed a total of more than $870,000 prize money for connections over the premiership season. By Trenton Akers Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail

A Warwick man has been arrested in relation to what authorities have called a "loose cartel" of harness racing drivers and trainers involved in race fixing in Queensland. Trainer-driver Dayl March, 46 from Warwick, was this week arrested and charged with race fixing. It relates to Race 2 at Albion Park on November 12 last year, where it will be alleged March organised corruptly the outcome of that race. The 46-year-old was arrested following search warrants carried out by detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad, attached to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. In a press conference this morning, Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said March has had his licence suspended and was due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 10. "This is the first time an arrest has been made in relation to race fixing in harness racing in Queensland and further arrests are expected to be made," he said. "Once a person is charged with an offence relating to match fixing, their licence is automatically suspended. "The commission then has the power to suspend their licence for life." The maximum penalty for race fixing - a recent addition to the Queensland Criminal Code - is 10 years imprisonment. In the past week, police have visited properties of five harness racing participants in Warwick, The Gap, Logan Village, Redcliffe and Limestone Ridges as part of the joint investigation between the QRIC, Crime and Corruption Commission and Queensland Police. Detectives seized mobile phones, computers, documents and clothing that will now be forensically examined. Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said the investigation started just weeks after the commission was formed in July last year. "This has been a long- running investigation that highlights the importance of inter-agency co-operation," Mr Barnett said. "The investigation has identified a loose cartel of drivers and trainers involved in systemic race fixing ... who decide who will win the race and how they will win it. "We are not talking every race or even every race meeting, but certainly more than one race - it is more frequent than it is rare." Mr Barnett said there was no suggestion there was any involvement of stewards in race fixing and urged anyone aware of misconduct to come forward.  Darling Downs Harness Racing Club president Anthony Collins declined to comment.  Warwick Turf Club president Phil Grant said it was a shock to learn of the arrest this morning. "Though harness racing is separate to the thoroughbred racing, it's definitely not something we want to see Warwick in the news for," Mr Grant said. "It's not something I've ever seen before - I can't think of the last time there's been an allegation (of race fixing) in the thoroughbred industry.  "Racing Queensland brought in the commission to enforce the regulation and ensure no one is able to fix a race so now it's up to the courts to decide whether he's done the wrong thing." Mr Barnett said the commission ultimately hoped to improve confidence in the racing industry as a result of the investigation. "We think this could have a short term negative impact on confidence in the sport but in the long-term I believe this will be of benefit to the industry," he said. "This is solely the fault of the greedy and corrupt people who have participated in match fixing who have damaged the sport they participate in and claim to love. "I believe dealing with these issues will eventually lead to increased wagering confidence in the industry." Sophie Lester Reprinted with permission of  The Warick Daily News

The Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) has opened an investigation into a public fight understood to involve greyhound licence holders. Mike Godber, general manager of the RIU, has confirmed there is an investigation into the nasty incident that took place in front of hundreds of people at the Manawatu Harness Racing Club's night meeting in Palmerston North on March 31. The unsavoury scuffle took place in a public area in front of a sizeable crowd at Manawatu Raceway, mid-way through the last race of the harness meeting. A greyhound meeting was held at the same venue earlier in the evening. Police were called to what was described to them as an altercation between a man and woman. However, the man had already left when they arrived and no arrests were made at the raceway. Stuff understands at least three licence holders and a former licence holder were involved in the incident. As part of the investigation, the RIU is interviewing witnesses. Godber said it was still early in the investigation and the RIU was working to identify all parties involved. All licence holders involved would be interviewed when identified, he said. The dual code meeting was part of the Gold Cup festival in Manawatu, with the Group I thoroughbreds meeting held at Awapuni the following day. Godber said it was too early to speculate on any course of disciplinary action and no further comment would be made until the investigation was completed. The crowd was one of the best of the season at Palmerston North track which is used for harness and greyhound racing. Sources have described the actions of the those involved as "disgusting", especially given how hard many people across the three codes have worked to make the Gold Cup festival successful. Greyhound Racing New Zealand chief executive Phil Holden has been approached for comment. A security company was on course to control the event and there were no other issues at the meeting. Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission of Stuff

Detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad attached to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission have this week executed search warrants at properties of five harness racing participants. This resulted in the arrest of a 46-year-old Warwick man who has been charged with one count of Match Fixing under the Queensland Criminal Code. This action is the result of a protracted investigation by the QPS, CCC and QRIC into systemic match fixing in the harness racing industry. Premises visited this week included properties at Limestone Ridges, Warwick, The Gap, Logan Village and Redcliffe. Detectives seized mobile phones, computers, documents and clothing. The items will now be forensically examined as part of the investigation. Since its inception July 1 2016 the QRCS has been collocated with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner at Albion and is tasked with investigating serious animal cruelty, match fixing and major and organised crime across all three codes of racing. Queensland Police If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day. You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

With respect to the criminal investigation conducted by Victoria Police, which resulted on 11 January, 2017 in criminal charges being served on harness racing participants Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update: These criminal charges have been adjourned to Shepparton Magistrates Court for a contested mention hearing on 11 April, 2017. HRV is unable to make any further comment in relation to the Victoria Police investigation. VIC – Update – Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Media Statement/Police Investigation

Hunter harness racing was rocked by news late on Friday that the licence of harness racing trainer-driver Josh Osborn had been suspended over alleged betting activities. Osborn, who is ninth on the NSW drivers’ premiership with 31 wins from 159 starts, was the leading Hunter reinsman this season. The grandson of legendary trainer-driver Dick Osborn was stood down by Harness Racing NSW stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule 183, which allows the suspension of licences pending the outcome of an inquiry. “HRNSW has taken these measures after obtaining information indicating that betting accounts in the name of Mr Osborn had bets recorded on horses in races in which he participated, in contravention of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 173,” HRNSW said in a statement. He was yet to be charged but stewards suspended his licence given, among other factors, the “extremely serious nature of such conduct and absolute nature of AHRR 173 offences”.  Meanwhile, Newcastle and Menangle meetings on Saturday night had been pushed back to later times but were still going ahead as of Friday night despite predicted extreme heat. The first of 10 races at Newcastle is set down for 7.04pm and Menangle’s Chariots of Fire meeting will begin at 6.48pm. Former Keinbah-based training team Shane and Lauren Tritton have Salty Robyn and Anything For Love in the group 1 Chariots Of Fire, in which Lazarus was an odds-on favourite. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of the Newcastle Herald  

Result of the appeals held before the Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on 8 February 2017.  Nathan Jack Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Mr Jack.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Mr Jack.  HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis  Appellant Representative: Damian Sheales HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    Brocq Robertson Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Mr Robertson.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Mr Robertson.  HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Damian Sheales HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota   Amanda Turnbull Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Ms Turnbull.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Ms Turnbull. HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Sam Tovey HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    Lisa Bartley Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Ms Bartley.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Ms Bartley. HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Sam Tovey  HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    Mark Pitt Against restrictions imposed by the Stewards under Rule 183 (c) and (d) against Mr Pitt.  Appeal upheld, no restrictions remaining against Mr Pitt.  HRV RAD Board Panel: Tony Burns (Chairman) / Brian Collis Appellant Representative: Sam Tovey  HRV Representative: Paul Czarnota    TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS RACING AND DISCIPLINARY BOARD ANTHONY BURNS, Chairman BRIAN COLLIS, Member   EXTRACT OF PROCEEDINGS    NATHAN JACK BROCQ ROBERTSON AMANDA TURNBULL LISA BARTLEY MARK PITT   DECISION   WEDNESDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2017 MR P CZARNOTA appeared on behalf of the HRV Stewards MR D SHEALES appeared on behalf of MR JACK AND Mr ROBERTSON MR S TOVEY appeared on behalf of MS TURNBULL MR H COCKBURN appeared on behalf of MS BARTLEY AND MR PITT  .......................................................................................................................................... This investigation commenced over 18 months ago and an earlier suspension and stay application was dealt with by this Board on 14 September 2016.  Four of the five applicants were recently charged with criminal offences pursuant to the betting outcome provisions of the Crimes Act. These are to be dealt with in the indictable stream and assuming a contest will be through to a committal then trial in the County Court. It is reasonable to presume that the matters will not resolve at least until late in 2018 and possibly even well into 2019.  The Stewards take the suspension action that they have taken in support of the integrity of the industry and its reputation in the eyes of the public.  The integrity of the industry is however a two way street. To have integrity the system must honour the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice towards its participants.  Criminal charges are now filed but must be weighed against the presumption of innocence.  As said in September 2016, by this Board, the fact that charges of themselves carries little weight, it is the evidence underlying those charges which is relevant.   The applicants have not been charged by the Stewards under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing. As to the evidence that has been provided the authorities are clear that cogent and compelling reasons would need to be present to justify any suspension from an industry that provides the livelihood for these applicants. This Board is not privy to the evidence in the police brief. The evidence provided is suggestive of a circumstantial case but one that is denied by the applicants.  There are no certificates creating conclusive proofs here as there were in Demmler before VCAT, a citation of which is 2015 VCAT 648. That was a case against the Tribunal even in the face of conclusive proofs allowed a stay.  Any suspension here approved will effectively ruin the livelihoods of the applicants.  The need to ensure the integrity and reputation of harness racing is indeed a most important consideration.  The public is sophisticated enough however to understand the difference between where charges are laid with the concomitant presumption of innocence and where charges are proven.  Given the suspension here it may create unrecoverable consequences for the applicants. We are not satisfied that the need to protect the integrity of the industry outweighs the damage to the reputation and livelihood of these applicants. Indeed nor are we satisfied that the integrity of the industry will be harmed by the continued involvement of these applicants in the sport pending the outcome of charges.  Accordingly, the decision of the Stewards to suspend all the applicants is stayed.   

A Gold Coast man will face court accused of assaulting three people involved in Queensland's harness racing industry. The 32-year-old Molendinar man was charged on Wednesday following a four-month investigation involving the Queensland Racing Crime Squad and Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, which included coercive hearings.' He is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on February 15 on two charges of assault occasioning bodily harm and two counts of common assault. 9news.com.au Read more here

The appeals of Nathan Jack, Lisa Bartley, Mark Pitt and Amanda Turnbull regarding the decision of the Harness Racing Victoria Stewards to suspend their licenses with immediate effect will be heard by the RAD Board on Wednesday 8 February 2017 at 2.00 pm.  Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police on 11 January, 2017 involving the service of charges on four harness racing participants, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update: In accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 183, the HRV Stewards have today suspended the licences of Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Lisa Bartley, Mr Mark Pitt and Ms Amanda Turnbull with immediate effect. In making this decision, the HRV stewards have considered all relevant information including the submissions provided on behalf of the participants as to why no action should be taken against the participants or their licences in the circumstances. The participants have been advised of their rights of appeal against this decision and any such appeal must be lodged with the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board Registrar by 5.00pm on 27 January, 2017. As these matters are now before the courts, HRV will not be commenting at this time.  

24 January 2017 - With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police on January 11, 2017, where criminal charges were served on harness racing participants, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update: The HRV Integrity Department advises that it is in the process of reviewing submissions made by the legal representatives of licenced participants Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Amanda Turnbull, Ms Lisa Bartley and Mr Mark Pitt addressing why action should not be taken under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against their respective licences to participate in the industry. It is not anticipated a decision will be made today and HRV will update on this matter in due course. HRV is unable to make any further comment.  Harness Racing Victoria

19 January 2017 - With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police on 11 January, 2017 where criminal charges were served on harness racing Participants, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update; HRV advises that in response to requests from some of the legal representatives of the relevant individuals, the HRV Stewards have granted an extension of time to Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Amanda Turnbull, Ms Lisa Bartley and Mr Mark Pitt regarding the timeframe by which they are required to provide any submissions addressing why action should not be taken under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against the respective licences of the individuals to participate in the industry. Any such submissions are now to be provided by 5.00pm on Monday 23 January 2017 and will be given due consideration thereafter prior to any decision being made. With respect to the Victoria Police investigation, HRV is unable to make any further comment. Harness Racing Victoria

Columbus, OH--- According to an article in Newsday published on Friday (Oct. 28), former leading harness racing owner/breeder David Brooks, died in federal prison on Thursday (Oct. 27) in Danbury, Conn. of undisclosed causes. Brooks, 61, was the former executive of DHB Industries Inc. and was in the midst of serving a 17-year sentence after he was convicted in 2010 on a 17-count indictment that included conspiracy; securities, wire and mail fraud; insider trading; and obstruction of justice. Operating as Perfect World Enterprises and Bulletproof Enterprises, Brooks and his brother Jeffrey owned more than 800 horses when he was convicted, including 2004 Little Brown Jug winner Timesareachanging. The prison where Brooks was recently transferred is expected to issue a detailed report regarding the circumstances of his death in the near future. To access the full article please click here. For an article that appeared in The Atlantic shortly before his conviction, please click here. USTA Communications Department 

A former leading harness racing trainer banned for doping his horses with methamphetamines will face trial next year charged with dealing commercial quantities of the drug. Michael “Joe” Buttigieg has pleaded not guilty to two counts of trafficking in a controlled drug and one count of trafficking a commercial quantity of amphetamines. The offences allegedly occurred at Parafield Gardens and Globe Derby Park in June 2015. Buttigieg, of Port Macdonnell in the state’s southeast, was disqualified from training for two years in 2014 after two of his pacers tested positive to methamphetamine. The 62-year old was known for his excellent winning strike rate with his small team of horses and has previously won the metropolitan trainers award. In 2006, he became the first country trainer to claim the South Australian state trainers premiership. The horses — Go Go Shikari and Aveross Mac — were found to have methamphetamine in their bloodstreams after winning races at Port Pirie and Globe Derby in May and June 2014. Buttigieg was disqualified from training for two years and his stable foreman, Dean Girardi was banned for six months by Harness Racing South Australia stewards. Stewards said they were mindful of Buttigieg’s repeated offending and noted that methamphetamine was “an illegal drug and has no place in the equine industry”. The disqualification is set to end next month but it is unknown whether Buttigieg will seek to renew his licence. Buttigieg was this week remanded on continuing bail to face trial in the District Court in June next year. If found guilty of "the trafficking a commercial quantity of drugs charge", Buttigieg faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison. By Andrew Dowdell Reprinted with permission of The Advertiser   National Geographic - Crystal Meth Secret Revealed [ Hell On Earth ] Full Documentary

With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police at the Melton harness racing meeting yesterday involving harness racing participants, Victoria Police has advised Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) its investigation is continuing and that no charges have been issued against the relevant parties. Regardless and in consideration of the industry HRV Integrity Department has provided the relevant parties, who were yesterday arrested and interviewed by the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit of Victoria Police, until 4pm on 2 September, 2016, to provide submissions as to why their licenses should not be suspended or other action should not be taken under the provisions of the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR). HRV Integrity Department takes into consideration that the decision to suspend licenses of participants and/or take other actions are serious measures and thus all available material needs to be considered. This includes the information from Victoria Police regarding the continuing status of its investigations and the absence of any criminal charges. With respect to the further progression of the investigation by Victoria Police on 28 August, 2016, HRV is unable to make any further comment at this time. Harness Racing Victoria

The Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner (the Commissioner) and Sportradar are pleased to announce the signing of the Cooperation and Information Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna and the Managing Director Security Services Andreas Krannich signed the Cooperation and Information Exchange MoU earlier this week. “This agreement, strengthens cooperation between my office and Sportradar, particularly with respect to information exchange, to assist sports’ controlling bodies to achieve their objectives in reducing the threat presented by criminal and corrupt conduct in Australian sport, particularly in the Victorian Racing Industry (VRI)” Mr Perna said. “The MOU not only helps both agencies gather and share relevant information, but leads to increasing the public confidence in racing.” The partnership underlines efforts to ensure the integrity of Victoria’s $2.8 billion racing industry, which employs approximately 60,000 people. “The MOU formalises the already existing cooperation between Sportradar and the Racing Integrity Commissioner and solidifies the strong ties between the two agencies. The Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner is one of the key sporting integrity units operating in Australia and our Security Services team look forward to working with them even more closely, utilising our integrity related wagering analysis, intelligence gathering and training experience to assist in upholding the integrity of all three codes of racing operating across Victoria. ” Mr Krannich said. Paul Stevens Manager Integrity Operations Sportradar +44 203 695 2214 Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (03) 8684 7776     

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