John Vanderburg warned off for two years over possession conviction

NSW greyhound racing

GRNSW Inquiry Panel have this week confirmed that former NSW greyhound trainer John Vanderburg has been warned off all tracks for a period of two years following a NSW Court conviction for possessing prohibited drugs.

Vanderburg was convicted in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court in March of this year for possessing Pentobarbitone and Testosterone products at his registered kennel address in NSW. Those charges stemmed from an April 2017 NSW Police raid on his Yarramundi property. The raid received significant mainstream media exposure which was noted by GRNSW Stewards.

In May 2017 GRNSW cancelled Vanderburg’s greyhound trainers licence, but it was not until the conviction was confirmed in the NSW Local Court that GRNSW launched an inquiry in to to the matter in March 2018. The purpose of the inquiry wads to establish if Vanderburg should face further action under Australiian Greyhound Racing Rule 95(8)(a).

Australian Greyhound Racing Rule 95(8)(a) reads:

The Controlling Body may impose on a person any1 [sic] or more of the penalties referred to in sub-rule (1) if-

  • (a) the person has been convicted of an offence by any court and the Controlling Body is satisfied that
    • (i) the nature of the offence is such that the person’s continued participation or association with greyhound racing would be detrimental to the proper control and regulation of greyhound racing; or
    • (ii) the continued enjoyment of the rights and privileges conferred by the person would be prejudicial or contrary to the interests of the Controlling Body

GRNSW asked Vanderburg to provide submission as to why his continued involvement in the greyhound industry should be allowed and as to why his “continued participation or association with greyhound racing would not be detrimental to the proper control and regulation of greyhound racing
and/or prejudicial or contrary to the interest of GRNSW”. GRNSW Stewards allege that Vanderburg did not respond to multiple requests to make a submission on his own behalf.

GRNSW Stewards conducted their inquiry in the absence of any submissions or evidence provided by Vanderburg, and found that “Mr Vanderburg has been convicted of offences by the Local Court of NSW at Sydney Downing Centre as evidenced by the Conviction Certificate.”

“The Inquiry Panel finds that the nature of the offences bring into question Mr Vanderburg’s participation and association with greyhound racing. This is because they include convictions for the possession of the permanently banned prohibited substances pentobarbital, testosterone propionate and testosterone at Mr Vanderburg’s registered kennel address. These substances are permanently banned prohibited substances under Rule 79A of the Rules and it is an offence to have such substances at a registered kennel.”

In the course of the inquiry, the GRNSW Panel considered that “Pentobarbital is a barbiturate used mostly for euthanasia (but may less commonly be used therapeutically as a sedative and anaesthetic agent). Barbiturates cause dose dependent depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, eventually causing respiratory and cardiac arrest. In New South Wales, pentobarbital injection is scheduled S4D”; and that “Testosterone enanthate and testosterone propionate are anabolic androgenic steroids that can give an unfair performance advantage to treated greyhounds by increasing muscle mass, increasing endurance and altering the behaviour of the greyhound.”

GRNSW reiterated its position that “there is no place in greyhound racing for such permanently banned prohibited substances to be in the possession of a registered participant at their registered kennels.” Consequently the Inquiry Panel formed the opinion that the “nature of the offences of which Mr Vanderburg has been convicted is such that his continued participation or association with greyhound racing would be detrimental to the proper control and regulation of greyhound racing”; also noting that the media coverage of the case was “a further indication of the detriment which would be caused by Mr Vanderburg’s continued participation or association with greyhound racing.”

The outcome of the inquiry being that GRNSW consider “Mr Vanderburg’s participation or association with greyhound racing would be detrimental to the proper control and regulation of greyhound racing”.

Considering Mr Vanderburg’s licence history and that he does not currently hold a licence, the GRNSW Inquiry Panel determined to warn Vanderburg for a period of two years.

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