Paul Struthers, PR Manager for the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“The defendants have been cleared of the criminal charges against them. It is not appropriate for the Authority to comment on the proceedings or the police investigation that led to the trial. Irrespective of the outcome, this has been a sad episode for horseracing. The allegation in court that racing and punters were the victims of a conspiracy has been a cloud over the whole sport.
“The restrictions placed on the three jockeys involved in the proceedings expired at the conclusion of the proceedings. Kieren Fallon, who is licensed by the Irish Turf Club, is therefore able to ride in Great Britain and Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams are able to re-apply for their jockey’s licences.
“The British Horseracing Authority will now review all the available evidence presented in the criminal trial to determine if there have been breaches of the Rules of Racing that would require it to take disciplinary action. This will be done as a priority and, we trust, with the full co-operation of those involved in the police investigation.”
7th December 2007
For further information contact the Press Office on 020 7189 3866 or Paul Struthers, PR Manager, on 07887 633380
Notes for Editors:
Funding Of the Case
At no time was any funding towards the cost of the investigation offered or
given by the Jockey Club, the Horseracing Regulatory Authority or the British
Horseracing Authority. A formal request to consider funding was received from the City of London Police in September 2007, but the British Horseracing Authority considered such funding would be inappropriate and the request was refused. This was ahead of it being raised in court as a possible issue.
The British Horseracing Authority
The British Horseracing Authority is the independent governing and regulatory body of racing. It was formed in July this year by merging the Horseracing Regulatory Authority, responsible for regulating and policing the conduct of racing, with the British Horseracing Board, the governing authority for horseracing in Britain, responsible for promoting the interests of racing.
Independent review found no evidence of widespread corruption
Although in any sport where gambling and money is involved there may be people prepared to cheat to gain unfair advantage, a comprehensive and wide ranging independent review of horseracing led by the former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, Ben Gunn, which reported in 2003, found there was no evidence to indicate institutional or widespread corruption around the sport. Even so, recommendations were made and implemented to ensure that the integrity of the sport was protected.
The racing and police investigation leading to the trial
The investigation by the City of London Police was initiated following investigative work by the then Jockey Club’s Security Department. The Jockey Club handed police a file relating to various enquiries conducted by the department. As with any police investigation, once the City of London Police took on the case, it was wholly in their hands.
Racing’s actions following the criminal charges
In July 2006 criminal charges were brought by the CPS and police following their investigations. The Horseracing Regulatory Authority, acting under powers available to it under the Rules of Racing, reacted to this and prohibited Kieren Fallon from riding in races in Great Britain pending the outcome of the trial. Kieren Fallon’s jockey’s licence is issued by the Irish Turf Club and he was still able to ride in races outside of Great Britain. The HRA also declined to renew licences to Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams pending the outcome of the trial.
The decision to prohibit the jockeys from riding in Great Britain was taken in July 2006 by a special panel chaired by Sir Michael Connell, a former high court judge. The panel made it clear that this was not a disciplinary hearing. The panel held that it was not for it to consider evidence to seek to assess the strength of the case for the prosecution or the defence, or to second guess the CPS or DPP.
The panel fully acknowledged that the defendants had not been found guilty of anything and recognised that the decision to prohibit Kieren Fallon from racing in Great Britain and not to grant licences to Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams would impair their ability to follow their chosen careers. However, the panel agreed these considerations were outweighed by other important factors. In particular among these was the potential damage to racing and to the welfare of all those who work in the sport, and depend on its integrity, to maintain public interest, if jockeys charged with conspiracy to defraud, in connection with the running of races, were permitted to continue to race pending resolution of the charges.
An appeal by Kieren Fallon against the panel decision was heard by an independent Appeal Board, chaired by Sir Roger Buckley, also a former high court judge. The Board dismissed the appeal. Kieren Fallon also challenged the decision in the High Court, after which the court upheld the decision of the HRA panel and Appeal Board.
The Jockey Club had previously prohibited Miles Rodgers from owning racehorses and going to licensed premises (racecourses and racing stables) when he was found guilty by a disciplinary hearing of laying a number of his own horses to lose. As a disqualified person, licensed individuals are prohibited from speaking with him about racing.
Current provision to protect the integrity of racing
The British Horseracing Authority invests more than £18 million a year to regulate racing including measures to deter and detect cheating. The sport has adopted a more rigorous and professional approach in implementing the recommendations of the independent review in 2003.
There is improved security and intelligence collection at racecourses. Racing has significantly strengthened its resources with professional investigators, experienced intelligence analysts using sophisticated information technology and two full time betting analysts to monitor in real time betting patterns and suspicious betting activity.
Racing has also established Memoranda of Understanding with the Betting Exchanges and Bookmakers in order to obtain both pre-emptive and reactive information on suspicious betting activity. The Authority is also able to utilise High Court Orders to obtain records of telephone calls. These were not previously available and they have been useful in establishing evidence of contacts between licensed persons and potential corrupters surrounding suspicious betting activity.
Racing has increased the penalties for breaches of the Rules of Racing which impact on integrity issues and these are subject to periodic review. Additionally, racing is able to refer evidence or intelligence about suspect activity to the Gambling Commission. As from 1st September 2007, the Authority has liaised closely with the Gambling Commission which now has powers to investigate corrupt betting activity (under the new offence of cheating in Section 42 of the Gambling Act) or, if appropriate, it can refer such cases to police. The establishment of the Gambling Commission’s powers and the new criminal offence of cheating are both changes for which racing lobbied.