VCAT Rulings: O’Brien Lashes Out

17
Mar

“It’s time that Martin Pakula took a hard look at what is going on in the racing industry in this state. At the moment we have a head of integrity, Terry Bailey, who is a man who tells lies,” O’Brien said.

“He lied to his CEO and his chairman when confronted about putting a spy in Peter Moody’s stable. He lied to the racing public in December of 2014 when he informed them that the previous spring carnival had been the cleanest ever when he was well aware of these test results and has come along here, on oath, and told mistruths.

“When that became acceptable in racing in Victoria that the chief of stewards would behave like that – I do not know.

“It is time for Mr Pakula to stop talking and start getting involved in getting racing back on track in this state to the position of pre-eminence it once enjoyed.”

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal president, Justice Greg Garde said he was comfortable that neither trainer was aware illegal levels of cobalt were being given to their horses.

O’Brien’s appeal against his four-year disqualification and Kavanagh’s appeal over his three-year disqualifications were both overturned.

Speaking on the steps of VCAT after the verdict had been delivered, O’Brien said he was relieved to be vindicated.

“It’s over 26 months since these tests results came back. When they came back Mark and I were adamant that we had done nothing wrong,” O’Brien said.

“To stand here today 26 months later and have Justice Garde affirm that – he’s been very clear that neither Mark or I had any intention of cheating or trying to break any rules of racing, that we are completely innocent of all charges.

“It has also thrown a light on the behaviour of Racing Victoria, the breaches of the rules that they, in fact, have engineered throughout this process.

“That’s probably been the most disappointing thing, the bullying and vilification of both Mark and I and our families by Terry Bailey and his integrity department has been quite incredible.

“Midway through this they (Racing Victoria) brought on a show cause hearing to try and take our licences away before any charges had been heard.

“We were then subjected to a show trial at the RAD Board where we were not even allowed to cross examine a witness.”

O’Brien said he and Kavanagh will take their time before considering their next actions.

“We’re going to read the judgement, this is going to take a little while – obviously the summary from Garde was very strong that we were completely innocent and that Racing Victoria have (sic) got issues,” O’Brien said.

“Once we understand the ins and outs of it we reserve all our rights.

“It’s been a long journey, particularly for our families and our staff. There’s a lot of people involved with Mark and I whose job security has been very tenuous but the support we’ve had from our staff and from our families and particularly from our legal team.

“Damian Sheales our barrister has been incredible and refused to be bullied, he has stuck by us from day one and the job he did here was quite incredible.

“We were up against a big machine here, they’ve spent over six million dollars to try and prosecute this.

“We’ve been humbled by the support from participants in the industry and people in the street – Mark and I had a lot of people come up, put their arm around us and say ‘don’t worry, you’ve done nothing wrong’ so we’re pleased for all sorts of reasons.”