Queensland greyhound trainer Gregory Paull has had a $500 fine for unseemly and improper beahviour reduced to $250 and wholly suspended for six months after lodging an appeal and alleging harassment by stewards and race night staff officiating at an Ipswich greyhound meeting.
Paull was originally fined $500 by officiating stewards at the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club on 16th August 2011, being found guilty of breach Greyhounds Australasia Racing Rule 86.(f)
Rule 86(f) is and ambiguous cover-all rule that could encompass a myriad of misdemeanours that generally involve unseemly, insulting, aggressive or improper acts and behaviour toward stewards and race staff.
GAR Rule 86.(f)A person (including an official) shall be guilty of an offence if the person- engages in, publishes or causes to be published, broadcasts or causes to be broadcast, the use of
any contemptuous, unseemly, improper, insulting, or offensive language, conduct or behaviour
in any manner or form towards, or in relation to –
(i) a Steward;
(ii) the committee, or a member of the committee, of a club;
(iii) the Controlling Body, or a member of the Controlling Body; or
(iv) any other person having official duties in relation to greyhound racing
Paull apealed against both the decision of the stewards to convict him, and also at the severity of the $500 fine.
Mr Paull submitted that although he had plead guilty to the charge, he felt that continual provocation and taunting by stewards and kennel staff towards him in the prior weeks has contributed to the incident and asked the appeal committee to take this into consideration.
Mr Paull referred to a letter he had written to Racing Queensland Limited Steward, Ms Gail Thorsby, on 1 August 2011, concerning issues he had encountered with the stewards and race staff and provided the Committee with background information contained in the letter.
Mr Paull said that he realised that his behaviour was inappropriate on the day but felt that he had been “pushed too far” which caused the outburst to occur.
Mr Hackett submitted that the letter Mr Paull referred to had been forwarded to the Head of Integrity and did not directly relate to the incident on 16 August 2011.
Mr Paull said that 4 kennelling staff were present on the day and that he felt taunted by their clapping and jibing when he arrived. Mr Paull reiterated that he had never been late and was acting within the rules of Racing Queensland. He said in hindsight he should not have sworn but this was done in the heat of the moment and was only in the general direction of staff, not to any one particular person.
Stewards at the appeal submitted that Mr Paull’s history of being continually last for kenneling had contributed to the frustrations of kenneling staff, which contributed to the clapping and jibing which occurred on the day of the incident.
The stewards confirmed that Mr Paull had no previous history of similar penalties.
The appeal committee ruled that taking into account Mr Paul’s financial circumstances and previous record regarding behaviour, the $500 fine be reduced to $250 and suspended for a period of 6 months on the condition that Mr Paull refrain from breaching Rule 86(f) or any similar rule relating to misconduct.