Greyhound Racing NSW Stewards concluded an inquiry on Thursday, 10 July into analyst’s reports that the urine sample taken from Manyana Groper after that greyhound won the Sportingbet Paws Of Thunder Heat (520m), the fourth race of the Wentworth Park meeting on Saturday 11 January 2014, had been analysed and confirmed to contain the prohibited substances methylamphetamine and amphetamine.
Mr. Swain was allowed representation from Mr. Vince Murphy of Lenz Legal. The inquiry was held over three days – 7 May, 12 June and 10 July 2014. Evidence was taken from the greyhound’s trainer, Mr Sydney Swain, and from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) Science Manager, Dr Adam Cawley. Written evidence was tendered from the ARFL, Racing Analytical Services Victoria, Racing NSW Chief Veterinarian Dr Craig Suann and from GRNSW. Mr Swain had also been supplied footage of the kenneling process from the track on the day in question.
During the course of the hearing on 12 June it had been advanced that a possible cause of the laboratory reports was the common usage between trainers of petroleum jelly on the limbs of greyhounds engaged on the night in question. Having regard to the evidence in its entirety, in the opinion of the Stewards, this scenario could not be supported.
Mr Swain subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge under GAR 83 (2) (a) in that he presented Manyana Groper for the race in question other than free of any prohibited substances in that the urine sample taken from the greyhound after the race had been found on confirmatory analysis to contain the prohibited substances methylamphetamine and amphetamine.
After considering submissions on penalty Mr Swain was disqualified for a period of nine months. The disqualification concludes at midnight on 11 December 2014, having regard to the period of suspension of Mr Swain’s registration imposed on 13 March 2014 upon confirmation of the findings. In consideration of the particular circumstances in this case the final three months of the disqualification was suspended, conditional on Mr. Swain not being found in breach of the prohibited substance rules over the twelve months concluding 12 December 2015.
In considering penalty under the GRNSW penalty guidelines, factors taken into account included mitigating factors such as Mr. Swain’s guilty plea and the extremely low comparative level of substances detected. His record of having only two minor prohibited substance offences in more than forty years, with the last occurring over 15 years ago, the fact that he is a professional trainer, breeder and rearer with no other source of income, and that there was no evidence of substantial support for the greyhound were also considered. Other mitigating factors considered were the high number of cleared samples taken from Mr. Swain’s greyhounds over his registration history and a number of personal references submitted on behalf of Mr. Swain by leading industry figures.
Notwithstanding these factors, the need for a reasonably harsh penalty in the circumstances of presentation of a greyhound with a Category Two substance present and the effects that such reports have on the image of greyhound racing were also considered.
Under the provisions of GAR 83 (5) Manyana Groper was disqualified from the race in question and the semi-final of the special event conducted on 18 January 2014.
In respect of the race on 11 January the placings were amended to:
1st – Trapper Jet
2nd – Pierino
3rd – Battistuzzi
Manyana Groper was disqualified from its seventh placing on 18 January 2014.
Mr Swain was advised of his rights of appeal.