Horseracing Regulatory Authority v Byrne & Others
Court: HRA Disciplinary Panel
Judge: Tim Charlton QC, The Duke of Roxburghe, Nick Nutting
Date of judgment: 20 Apr 2007
Summary: Professional discipline - Sport - Horseracing - Corruption - Inside information
Jacob Dean (Applicant)
Four jockeys and a trainer faced charges before the Disciplinary Panel of the HRA accusing them of selling inside information to a former licensed owner, and, in some cases, ensuring that the horses ridden by them would lose, in order to benefit lay bets on the internet betting exchange Betfair.
(1) Had some or all of the licensed persons passed inside information, and had they done so for reward?
(2) Had any of the jockeys ridden in order to lose?
(3) What penalties should be imposed for the breaches of the rules?
One jockey (Byrne) admitted selling inside information. Three of the jockeys (Kelly, Ferris & Nolan) and the trainer (McEntee) were found to have sold inside information. Ferris alone was found to have ridden to lose. Various findings of misleading investigators were made. The penalties imposed on the licensed persons were: McEntee – 12 months suspension. Kelly – 12 month suspension. Ferris – 5 years disqualification. Nolan – 9 months suspension. Byrne – 4 months suspension.
As with the earlier case of Winston & others the result of this Inquiry showed the Disciplinary Panel being prepared to draw inferences of corrupt conduct from telephone and betting records. The high penalty imposed on Ferris reflected the fact that he had deliberately thrown a number of races. In sentencing Byrne the Panel took into account his admissions.