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By Graham Potter | Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Darren Weir has had a four-year disqualification, which was the penalty called for by Racing Victoria stewards, confirmed by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.

Weir had previously stated he would not contest the charges against him which included three charges of possessing jiggers and one of conduct prejudicial to the image, interests and welfare of racing.

While it was stressed that there was no charge involving the use of the devices located during of search of one of Weir’s properties (they were found in the master bedroom) the argument was put forward that possession of jiggers was prohibited and the possible association of such devices with deeds of animal cruelty constituted conduct prejudicial to the interests of racing.

Racing Victoria counsel Jeff Gleeson, as reported in The Age, amplified that point by referring to Weir as ‘one of the most substantial and significant trainers in Australian thoroughbred history … who held sway over one of the biggest racing operations in the world (which) ensured that there would be huge media and public interest in the case’ … which Gleeson went on to describe as an ‘inevitable firestorm.’

''With reputation and privilege comes responsibility,'' said Gleeson.

''There is no basis in which you can infer lack of knowledge of the items [or] ... confusion of the rules ... you can only reasonably infer that he was aware of the existence of these devices on the property, you can only reasonably infer he was aware of the existence of the rule, the gravity of the breach ... and the consequences of the image for him and racing if he was caught and convicted,” continued Gleeson.

Gleeson further pointed out that, significantly, no explanation had been offered for possession of the devices.

Gleeson did acknowledge that the speed with which Weir agreed to have the matter expedited was a factor that needed to be taken into account but he was unmoved from the position that the four-year disqualification being called for by stewards was an appropriate penalty.

Shortly afterwards, the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board confirmed the four-year disqualification.

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