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THE SUNDAY STORY: AN OPPORTUNITY TO RESTRUCTURE RACING'S JUDICIARY SYSTEM WHICH MUST BE TAKEN

By Graham Potter | Sunday, February 10, 2019

With the racing industry, to some degree at least, still covered in dust from the Darren Weir wreckage, every racing integrity division has to get on the front foot and play their part in the clean-up.

In fact, the Weir ‘crash and burn’ scenario has created the ideal opportunity for authorities to revisit, redefine, restructure and, if necessary, re-legislate procedures which have hampered and plagued racing’s judiciary system in the past to the point where ‘justice delayed’ seemed to be the motto under which the system operated.

There can be no better example of this than the long-time, ‘elephant in the room’ regarding the adventures of Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and its on-going battle with Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie. Surely, it is time to change a system that doesn’t work effectively.


Trainer Ben Currie cannot have a winner these days without attracting some not so complimentary comments around the track about his on-going ‘situation’ with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC} where he is fighting a litany of charges.

Currie has a lot of winners … in fact he is the leading trainer by number of winners in Queensland for the season, as he was last season … so there is a lot of talk!

That conversation does nobody any good, particularly the racing industry in Queensland as a whole which arguably continues to suffer under the burden of a broken justice system which is well past its use-by date … if, in fact, it ever was a viable option in the first place.

That is not to say that individual racegoers should not have an opinion and the right to express it. Far from it. That is part of the lifeblood of the sport but that is not the main point of issue. The main point of issue is also not even necessarily what any accused has done or not done … rather it is how long it takes to get a FINAL guilty or not guilty verdict and put the matter to rest.

The bottom line is it cannot take as long as it does, such as in the Currie case, and be seen to be effective. In fact, outsiders looking in, would be forgiven be believing the Queensland Racing judicial process is BROKEN.

And don’t talk to me about ‘natural justice’. In cases such as Curries, delay after delay, appeal following appeal often become the order of the day … while the sport and all of those innocently involved in it suffer as a consequence of the ongoing innuendo and the random and sometimes reckless remarks which spread through all corners of the grapevine.

So, just whose natural justice are we talking about?

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A quote, largely attributable to William Gladstone, who served four terms as British Prime Minister in the 1800’s, reads, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’

Gee they knew a thing or two back then.

Here we are one hundred and fifty years after Gladstone first took office. The world is now fast-paced. The lines of communication can now move to a frantic degree, information resources are at our finger-tips, technical advances mean we often just have to push a button to get things done.

Combine all of that with the weight of money thrown at QRIC in terms of funding in recent times and the unprecedented resources (under a racing jurisdiction) that they have been allocated and surely it should be all systems go to reach a timely resolution in matters such as the Currie case.

Yet, here we are, stuck in gridlock … while Rome burns!

I could go on about the concerns of the current state of play … about the fact that QRIC does not get a pass mark on exposed form … ie by doing some things in a way which seemingly can be at least be legally challenged leading to unnecessary delays. Then there is QRIC’s conversion rate … ie guilty findings which hold up on appeal … a tainted success percentage which hardly leaves anybody in fear of making a challenge.

And, of course, when that challenge is made to QCAT it ultimately joins the queue of cases pending across the board (not just involving racing) during which time you could arguably celebrate a birthday or two before a case is resolved. Also, that case is then not necessarily judged by people with racing ‘savvy’.

None of that is ideal.

Little wonder cases stagger, stumble and fall.

But, having said that, whatever faults they might bring to the party, QRIC, like everybody else still have to work within a system which doesn’t work effectively and that does complicate their task. They can't be blamed for that … and therein lies the rub.

Full article

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The Darren Weir ‘crash and burn’ scenario has created the ideal opportunity for authorities to revisit, redefine, restructure and, if necessary, re-legislate procedures which have hampered and plagued racing’s judiciary system in the past to the point where ‘justice delayed’ seemed to be the motto under which the system operated.
The Darren Weir ‘crash and burn’ scenario has created the ideal opportunity for authorities to revisit, redefine, restructure and, if necessary, re-legislate procedures which have hampered and plagued racing’s judiciary system in the past to the point where ‘justice delayed’ seemed to be the motto under which the system operated.
The long-time ‘elephant in the room’ regarding the adventures of Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and its on-going, long running battle with Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie has gone on for far too long. Surely, it is time to change a system that doesn’t work effectively.


Photos: Graham Potter
The long-time ‘elephant in the room’ regarding the adventures of Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and its on-going, long running battle with Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie has gone on for far too long. Surely, it is time to change a system that doesn’t work effectively.


Photos: Graham Potter
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