GAR 86 (f) (iii): 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 the Controlling Body, or a member of the Controlling Body.
The Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) Integrity Department has finalised deliberations on penalty after registered attendant Susan Absalom was found guilty in relation to two charges emanating from an incident at the Richmond Race Club meeting on 7 May 2014.
GRNSW Integrity Officer Norm Becroft delivered a report on the incident on the evening of 7 May 2014, detailing the incident said to have occurred at or around the kennel block at Richmond at around 6.45pm.
An inquiry was conducted over two days on 17 June 2014 and 3 September 2014. Evidence was taken on 17 June from Ms Absalom, who tendered a written statement, Mr Becroft, Leroy Della Casa and Mr Warren Absalom. Application for assistance by Dennis Carl on behalf of Ms Absalom on 17 June was denied however recourse to adjournments to seek support and advice at any stage was granted. At Ms Absalom’s request the 17 June proceedings were recorded on video as well as audio.
After consideration of the evidence given on 17 June Ms Absalom was asked at the hearing on 3 September to answer a charge under GAR 14 (6) of having furnished a false name upon request by Mr Becroft as an official of the Controlling Body.
Additionally she was also asked to answer a charge under GAR 86 (f) (iii) of having engaged in the use of insulting behaviour towards a member of the Controlling Body in that she directed words towards Mr Becroft in a loud and insulting manner.
Ms Absalom pleaded not guilty to both charges. After consideration of the further submissions from Ms Absalom, Mr Della Casa and Mr Absalom, both charges were confirmed. She was then given time to prepare written submissions, references and other material for consideration in any penalty.
After consideration of this material, Ms Absalom was advised on 2 October 2014 of the decision to impose a period of disqualification of four months on both charges. This means that she would be free to apply for registration as of 1 February 2015. She was advised of her right of appeal.
In considering penalty weight was given to the adverse effects such public behaviour has on the image of greyhound racing, the fact that this is the second such charge Ms Absalom had been found guilty of in the past two years, her behaviour during the course of the two hearings, her failure to acknowledge the offences through the not guilty pleas, the need for industry and employee protection from such behaviour, and the expectation that a leading industry official carries a burden of responsibility to the industry above that of normal standards.
Mitigating these factors were Ms Absalom’s contribution as a honorary Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association official over a long period, and references of support from other industry officials and participants.