VCAT again clears Anderton of live baiting charges

VETERAN trainer Paul Anderton has once again been vindicated by the Civil and Administrative Tribunal after the body dismissed him of all charges relating to live bating.

On March 24 2017 Greyhound Racing Victoria disqualified the former Cranbourne steward from training greyhounds for eight years in 2015 after covert video emerged of live baiting, but VCAT cleared him of the allegation.

At the time it was deemed that Anderton had no knowledge about the possibility that a live rabbit was used as a lure at the Tooradin Trial Track.

In clearing Anderton, Gerard Butcher, Senior Member of the VCAT said: “I am satisfied that the rabbit does not exhibit the behaviour of a fully alive rabbit which has not been the subject of some procedure in an attempt to euthanise it.

“I conclude the probability of Mr Anderton requesting the use of a live rabbit or assenting to its use or indeed using a live rabbit is low.”

The trainer said in the aftermath that the change was “like being charged with being a paedophile and having no possible chance of defending yourself.”

Unfortunately for the 63-year-old, the ordeal did not end there.

The Greyhound Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) took the decision to the Supreme Court of Victoria following that decision to appeal the dismissal.

The Honourable Justice Zammit, following decision of Racing Victoria Ltd v Kavanagh found that offenses relating to live-baiting were of strict liability.

Zammit found that GRV had proved the charges and that the RADB could once again have their case heard before VCAT on whether honest and reasonable mistake of fact can relate to Anderton.

Once again VCAT found in favour of the veteran trainer, stating that it would dismiss the RADB suspension imposed on Anderton.

“The decisions of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board made on 3 December 2015 and 18 December 2015 are set aside,” the statement read.

Gerard Butcher once again determined that Anderton did not knowingly use a live rabbit as a lure.

“I am satisfied to the required standard that Mr Anderton held an honest and reasonable belief that the rabbit on the lure on 11 November 2014 was dead. GRV has not been able to dispel this.”