BHA statement following publication of the Appeal Board’s written reasons in relation to the hearing involving Robbie Dunne

21 Apr 2022 BHA Features Disciplinary

Following the publication this afternoon of the independent Appeal Board’s written reasons for their decision in the appeal brought by licensed jockey Robbie Dunne last month, the BHA has released the following statement:The decision of the independent Appeal Board confirms that Mr. Dunne’s conduct, described as ‘reprehensible and disgraceful’, was of a nature that cannot and will not be tolerated anywhere within the sport of horseracing. While the BHA considers the original 18-month period of suspension (with the final 3 months of this suspended) to have been an appropriate penalty for this conduct, it accepts the decision of the independent Appeal Board to reduce this penalty. Calling out this behaviour required considerable courage and the BHA remains committed to creating an environment within our sport whereby everybody feels empowered to challenge inappropriate behaviour where they see it and feels comfortable in doing so. While it is fair to point out that both sides received an opportunity to articulate their arguments before the independent Appeal Board, the BHA is aware of the criticisms of the tone and management of the Appeal Board hearing, and recognises and shares these concerns. A review of the Appeal Board structure was discussed some time prior to this hearing and the BHA will be working with the independent Judicial Panel Chair on a review of the Appeal Board framework in the coming months. It is the BHA’s view that such Panels, as well as having the appropriate legal skills and experience, ought also to be appropriately diverse and inclusive at all times.Notes to editors:1. The BHA released this statement following the independent Discplinary Panel’s original decision in this case in December 2021.2. The BHA released this statement immediately following the Appeal Board’s decision last month.