On 5th September 2013, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry into an allegation that Peter Chapple-Hyam, a licensed trainer, had breached Rule (A)31.2 of the Rules of Racing.
Chapple-Hyam admitted a breach of Rule (A)31.2, in that he deliberately misled or attempted to mislead an investigator of the BHA, and the Panel imposed a fine of £5,000.
The facts giving rise to this charge are set out in a document entitled ‘Basis of Plea’, which records an agreement between the BHA and Chapple-Hyam as to the basis on which he has admitted a breach of Rule (A)31.2. (Notes to Editors refers).
In summary, the BHA required Chapple-Hyam to produce his telephone records for a specific period, in the course of an investigation as to a possible connection between Chapple-Hyam and a person excluded under Rule (A)62 (an “excluded person”). The records for that period did not disclose any such connection. However, they did disclose some contact between Chapple-Hyam and an individual who was an associate of the excluded person. Chapple-Hyam was concerned to conceal this fact. In an attempt to do so, he at first supplied incomplete records. Then, when pressed to supply complete records, he provided the BHA with doctored (i.e. forged) records. The relevant entries had been changed so as to conceal the telephone number of the said individual.
The Panel wishes to make it entirely clear that it is wholly unacceptable for forged documents to be supplied to the BHA. It would only be in an exceptional case that such an offence would not lead to suspension or disqualification.
In the present case, the BHA has considered and accepted medical evidence showing that Chapple-Hyam has for some time been suffering from acute anxiety to an extent where he has required medical treatment. It is common ground that his attempt to conceal his contact with the said individual was in part attributable to that condition. Further, the BHA has accepted that there is no evidence to suggest that Chapple-Hyam has in fact been in contact with an excluded person. In these circumstances the BHA has accepted that there is substantial mitigation available to Chapple-Hyam, which would justify a decision to limit sanction to the imposition of a financial penalty.
The Panel has, after close consideration of the evidence and the parties’ representations, concluded that the appropriate penalty is a fine of £5,000. The Panel has fixed the fine at the top end of the prescribed range (£1,000 – £5,000) because (i) in a case involving the supply of forged documents, the decision not to suspend or disqualify is an exceptional one; and (ii) the offence is aggravated by Chapple-Hyam’s failure to make a full admission at the outset of his interview.