Results of enquries (J Tuite, M Gillard) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 14 April
The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry on Thursday 14 April 2016 to consider whether or not Joseph Tuite, a licensed trainer, had committed a breach of Rule (C)17 of the Rules of Racing, in respect of his failure to notify the Racing Calendar Office, by noon 5 days before the horse’s next run, that ZIPEDEEDODAH (IRE) had been gelded.
Having considered the evidence, the Panel found Tuite in breach of Rule (C)17 and fined him £100.
1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on the 14 April 2016 held an enquiry into whether or not Mark Gillard, a licensed trainer, had committed a breach of Rule (F)119.8 of the Rules of Racing by virtue of the fact that he failed to make the payments shown on his Stable Percentage Money Return (Pool Money Return) for the period ended 30 April 2015 on the date listed.
2. Lyn Williams appeared for the BHA, and Gillard presented his own case.
3. At the outset of the hearing, Gillard accepted that he had signed the Stable Percentage Money Return (Pool Money Return) on the 5 June 2015 (everyone accepted that “2016” was an error). In signing that form, Gillard agreed to pay the sums set out on the return in respect of each employee on 26 June 2015. Gillard accepted that none of the employees had been paid the sums due by 26 June 2015 and were paid in September 2015, although Stable employee ‘S’ was only paid £50 on 14 September 2015, when under the Pool Money Return ‘S’ was entitled to £250. Gillard also accepted that the BHA had not directed or authorised any alterations of the amounts due to the persons named on the Return, nor had the BHA sanctioned any delay in payment from the due date of 26 June 2016. In the circumstances, Gillard accepted that he was in breach of Rule (F)119.8 which states “Unless the Authority directs otherwise, a Trainer must make the payments as shown on the return not less than 10 days and not more than 21 days after signing and returning the Sheet….” The Panel having considered all the papers and admissions by Gillard found him to be in breach of Rule (F)119.8.
4. Gillard, in mitigation, gave evidence on his own behalf and also called Jess Wareham (yard manager) to give evidence. In summary, Gillard stated that whilst accepting that he was in breach of Rule (F)119.8, he submitted this was primarily a case where he had not followed the correct procedure, but that in the circumstances, no unfairness had been caused to anyone. Gillard told the Panel that following him signing off the Pool Money Return on 5 June 2015, ‘S’ was away on holiday in late July and throughout August, and whilst away, and before ‘S’ went away, there were allegations raised that ‘S’ had carried out insufficient work to justify a payment of £250 for the period in question, and in any event had achieved that figure by bullying others to agree to it. Gillard said that he decided to investigate these matters, and all the staff agreed to wait for payment until the matter was resolved. On 4 September 2015, Gillard put the allegations to ‘S’ who denied that they were true and disputed that the sum of £250 should be reduced in any way. After this meeting, ‘S’ left Gillard’s employment, and has not worked in the yard since.
5. Gillard said there was a Pool Money Committee Meeting on 11 September 2015, which redistributed the monies to various named employees and under the amended return, ‘S’ was to receive nothing. However, Gillard said, and it is accepted, that he paid ‘S’ £50 on 14 September 2015. The revised returns were sent to the BHA and Weatherby’s in late September 2015, the recipients of the amended sums having signed that they had received those sums. Gillard accepted that ‘S’, despite denying any wrongdoing and disputing that the £250 should be reduced in any way, was nevertheless not present nor were ‘S’s interests represented at the Committee Meeting on 11 September 2015. Gillard maintained that in his view, ‘S’ was not entitled to any more than the £50 paid, and overall fairness and justice had been achieved, although the correct procedures had not been followed.
6. Rule (F)119.8 makes it clear than once Gillard had signed off the Pool Money Return on 5 June, then the monies had to be paid by 26 June unless the BHA authorised otherwise. The Return itself also makes this clear. At no time prior to purporting to put forward amended figures, did Gillard seek advice or assistance from the BHA nor the NTF. As a consequence, the stable staff were kept out of all their monies for at least two months, and ‘S’ has nearly a year later been paid only £50 towards the sum of £250. The BHA gave Gillard repeated opportunities to pay the agreed original amounts, but he has refused to take up such opportunities. Indeed the BHA only became aware that ‘S’ was still owed money, when they were approached by NASS (National Association of Stable Staff) in late September 2015 after the original Return had been revised.
7. The Panel is not in a position to conclude whether or not the alleged bullying by ‘S’ took place. Certainly the issue of bullying was not raised with the BHA until long after the monies should have been paid. In any event, the Panel has not heard from all the parties involved, and some of the evidence as to bullying was contradictory. Whilst it is not possible to say what did or did not happen, the Panel wishes to make it clear that bullying in the workplace, where it does occur is not to be tolerated. It is however clear that Gillard breached the Rules by taking the course he did, and that the staff were entitled to the sums agreed, as signed off by Gillard himself, on 5 June 2015. Gillard still refuses to pay the sum to which, by the Rules, ‘S’ has been entitled since 26 June 2015.
8. The Panel bears in mind that this is the first time that Gillard has breached this Rule relating to Pool Money and that the breach has brought about little or no financial gain to himself. However, it is important that Pool Money (the amount and distribution of which is decided by the Pool Money Committee) once the Return has been signed off by the Trainer, should be paid strictly in accordance with that Return. This was clearly not the case here. In all the circumstances, the Panel agreed with the BHA submission that the penalty should be the entry point for a breach of this type of £2,000 plus an additional £200. Therefore, Gillard was fined £2,200 for breach of Rule (F)119.8.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Panel for the enquiries was: Philip Curl (Chair), Jeremy Barlow, Roger Bellamy