A licensed horse trainer was charged and found guilty of racing a horse which, after winning a race, tested positive for a prohibited substance. The thoroughbred, Alligator Blood, was disqualified and the news publicised by The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. The trainer pleaded not guilty at the hearing but the five steward panel found the trainer guilty, fined him AUD20,000 and published a report, notifying the owners of the disqualification for the first time.
The applicants argued that the stewards’ inquiry into Alligator Blood’s sample was deficient as to deny them natural justice. Indeed, the owners were not provided with any information about the collected sample, nor were they given formal notice of hearing and an opportunity to be heard. The respondents argued that the trainer was the owners’ responsible representative, thus limiting natural justice considerations, and that it was the trainer’s decision whether to involve the owners.
Scott McLeod KC appeared for the first respondent, instructed by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.
The judgment is published here.