Greyhound Racing NSW stewards have concluded deliberations on penalty following an inquiry into an alleged incident said to have occurred at the bi-annual meeting of the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) at the Maitland Leagues Club on Sunday 19 May 2013.
It was established that an incident had occurred involving GBOTA Director Gary Smith and GBOTA member Anthony Gannon.
The inquiry was held at the Richmond Race Club on 11 November 2013. Having taken evidence from a number of directors and members present at the meeting, the inquiry was adjourned in order to allow some members who could not be present to submit their report into the matter. Few additional submissions were received.
During the course of evidence it was established Mr Smith reacted to questioning from Mr Gannon and that when Mr Gannon approached the directors table to return a microphone, an incident ensued whereby Mr Smith took hold of Mr Gannon’s jacket sleeve and the two men had to be separated.
Mr Smith subsequently pleaded guilty by correspondence to a charge of misconduct under GAR 86 (o) concerning his behaviour at the meeting. He was suspended for three months and additionally fined $300 under GAR 86 (o). Acting under GAR 95 (3) the penalty was suspended in full on the provision Mr Smith does not re-offend under the rules relevant to conduct over the next 12 month period.
In determining penalty, stewards took into consideration Mr Smith’s guilty plea, his apology offered at the GBOTA meeting on the day of the incident, his extreme remorse exhibited both at the inquiry and in his correspondence, his unblemished record having held a public trainers license for 25 years and the indication of little likelihood of repeat behaviour in the future. Consideration in mitigating the penalty in the stewards view was the acceptance of some provocation in the incident having regard to the prevailing circumstances surrounding the industry at the time of the incident.
Of particular note is Mr Smith’s significant contribution to the industry through his efforts as the Temora representative of the GBOTA, progressing the Temora club in its standing in NSW and enhancing awareness of industry initiatives through the club website, local schools and local, state and federal government.
Stewards also took into account previous penalties that have been handed out for offences of similar nature, the need for the penalty to reflect some form of deterrence and the effect that such incidents have on the image of greyhound racing.
Mr Smith was advised of his right of appeal.