David Dawson Disqualified For 6 Months For Assaulting Female Steward

Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) Stewards have just released details of an assault on a female GRV Steward from a Melton Coursing meeting in August 2012 which has seen the offender given the relatively light penalty of just 6 months disqualification.

David Dawson of Crossover, near Warragul; was charged by GRV Stewards of interfering with the taking of a urine swab sample, wilfully assaulting GRV Steward Di Pyers, and disobeying a stewards directive by administering a drink to the greyhound prior to swabbing despite being directed not too.

That hearing was held at GRV offices on Wednesday by the Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board (RADB).

The Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into incidents which allegedly took place at the Melton Coursing Club on Sunday, 5 August 2012.

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Dawson with breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 86(g), (h) and (p) in that at the Melton Coursing Club on Sunday, 5 August 2012, he did;

  • wilfully assault GRV Steward Dianne Pyers during a sampling process which was subsequently taken from the greyhound My Girl Scarlett;
  • interfere with the carrying out of a swab sample test which was subsequently taken from the greyhound My Girl Scarlett;
  • and disobey the lawful order of GRV Steward Dianne Pyers in that he administered a drink of unknown ingredients, when directed not to do so, prior to the taking of swab sample from the greyhound My Girl Scarlett.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules these constitute Serious Offences which were heard by the GRV Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

Mr. Tony Vass represented Mr. Dawson at the RADB hearing.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) and Mr. Ron Matthews (Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.

Mr. Dawson pleaded not guilty to all charges.

After hearing all the evidence tendered, and considering submissions in relation to the interpretation of certain rules, the RADB determined;

  • in relation to the charge under GAR86 (g), that Mr. Dawson was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 6 months with 2 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months provided no similar breaches under this rule occur during this period,
  • in relation to the charge under GAR86 (h) that Mr Dawson did not interfere with the carrying out of a test pursuant to this rule and dismissed this charge; and
  • in relation to the charge under GAR86 (p) that Mr Dawson was guilty as charged and fined him $500 with all of this penalty suspended for 12 months provided no breaches under this rule occur during this period.

Both penalties are effective from midnight on 18th December 2012.

Unfortunately this decision continues the woeful run of weak decisions handed out by the RADB in relation to penalties.

Compare this case to that of Dan Nikolic where the thoroughbred racing RADB handed down a 2 year ban for his actions.

Fair enough Nikolic’s actions were determined to be contemptible and threatened a steward and his family, but here we have a greyhound trainer charged with physically assaulting a female GRV steward and only receives a 6 month ban.

The Victorian greyhound racing RADB need to seriously double check there sentences against community standards and expectations, particularly with regard to violence toward women; as they seem to very much be out of step with the real world.

To further emphasise the disparity between RADB sentences and community values, just last week GRV Stewards heard a case that did not get referred to the RADB as it was determined not to be serious enough, and the outcome was a 3 month ban for making a comment on an online greyhound forum which was deemed to be detrimental to greyhound racing’s image.

3 months for making an unpopular online forum comment vs 6 months for assaulting a female steward? You be the judge.

This baffling RADB sentence comes after they handed a greyhound trainer a suspended sentence for a positive swab while he was already serving a 9 month disqualification for a positive swab; and after they handed down a fine only for a positive swab from an Andrea Dailly trained greyhound.

It might be time for the proactive Victorian Racing Minister Denis Napthine to intervene.

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