1. On 13 October 2014 the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) considered an application under Rule (A)67.2 by Silvestre de Sousa for relief against the consequence of being placed on the Emirates Racing Authority’s (ERA) forfeit list. This matter was decided by the Panel without the need for a hearing, having seen the relevant documents.
2. De Sousa was placed on the ERA’s forfeit list on 7 October 2014. This was in respect of a debt claimed by the ERA of AED119,820 (the equivalent at today’s exchange rate of approximately £20,000). This represented costs which he was ordered to pay after a failed appeal against a two day suspension for careless riding. The original careless riding determination was made by the Stewards of the ERA following de Sousa’s ride of RACY at Meydan on 27 February 2014. He appealed and his appeal was heard on 6 March by the ERA’s Appeal Panel. They upheld both the original finding of careless riding and the penalty of a two day suspension. They further decided that de Sousa should forfeit his appeal deposit (AED 1500 – about £250) and pay the Appeal Panel’s costs. It is these costs which subsequently were found to amount to AED119,820, even though the appeal hearing itself lasted less than a day, with a standard written set of reasons following on 20 May 2014.
3. There followed correspondence between the ERA and de Sousa’s representatives about the costs. The ERA maintained its stance that de Sousa had to pay and that he would be put on the forfeit list if he didn’t. He has not paid and the ERA in consequence has put him on the forfeit list. In its letter to the BHA of 7 October informing the BHA of this fact, the ERA says that it “does not seek reciprocation of the subsequent disqualification of Mr De Sousa.”
4. Technically, as pointed out in this Panel’s recent decision in the case of Pat Cosgrave, a disqualification imposed because a person has been put onto a forfeit list abroad applies automatically in this country. It does not depend upon a request to reciprocate it. Therefore, this Panel has a separate discretion to exercise under Rule (A)67.2 to determine the application made by de Sousa. Consistently with the decision taken in Cosgrave’s case, where the ERA also notified the BHA that it did not want the penalty it had imposed to have effect outside the ERA’s territory, the Panel felt that this indication was a sufficient reason for directing that de Sousa should not be disqualified here.
5. So the Panel directs (as Rule (A)67.2 allows) that de Sousa should not be treated as a disqualified person because his name appears on the ERA’s forfeit list. This direction operates from the moment when his name appeared on that list.
Notes to editors:
1. The Panel was: Timothy Charlton QC (Chair), Lucinda Cavendish, William Barlow.