Appeal – Decision dated 19 October 2023 – Alysha Waretini
Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024
On the Papers
Outcome: Appeal Upheld
Penalty: Handler, Alyhsa Waretini disqualified for 12 months in a addition to a fine of $1,200
The Appellant appeals against sentence and seek a 12 month disqualification in addition to the fines imposed.
The Appeal was heard on the papers as foreshadowed in the 12 September 2023 Minute of this Tribunal. The Minute sought confirmation that service had been completed of the Notice of Appeal and Submissions and provided an opportunity for the Respondent to request an oral hearing and to provide any Submissions. Confirmation of service was provided and the Respondent did not request an oral hearing or make Submissions.
On 11 July 2023, an Adjudicative Committee found proved three charges pursuant to Rule 156 of the Rules of Greyhound Racing NZ proved against Ms Waretini:
(a) That on 28 February 2023 at Addington Raceway she did act improperly by throwing the greyhound “Little Hero” into the swabbing kennel with unnecessary force, causing the dog to hit its head on the back of the kennel.
(b) That on 28 February 2023 at Addington Raceway she did, in the catching area at completion of Race 12, act improperly by picking up the Greyhound “Double Thunder” by the neck and throwing it away from the lure.
(c) That on 28 February 2023 at Addington Raceway she did misconduct herself, assaulting Trainer, Malcolm Grant by shoulder barging him when walking the greyhounds down the alleyway beside the kennel block following the running of Race 12.
The Adjudicative Committee adopted a starting point of a fine of $500 for each charge. A discount of $100 was made for each, resulting in an end penalty of $400 for each breach, being a total on $1200.
APPEAL AGAINST PENALTY
Pursuant to 174(1) of the Rules, an Adjudicative Committee may as it thinks fit, penalise a person found guilty of an offence under the Rules by any one or a combination of the
(a) a reprimand (sometimes known as a warning or caution);
(b) a fine not exceeding $10,000 for any one offence except a luring and baiting
offence under Rule 159;
(e) cancellation of a Registration or a Licence, or in the case of a Club, its affiliation to
(f) warning off
Pursuant to LR173G of the Rules, an Appeals Tribunal may vary a penalty if manifestly excessive or inadequate or inappropriate.
The Appellant’s Submissions
The Appellant appeals on the grounds that the penalty was manifestly inadequate and seeks the addition of a 12 month disqualification to the penalty and made five points in support.
It submits there was no reason not to impose a disqualification and a fine. Such a penalty would have adequately reflected the gravity of Ms Waretini’s offending.
In the event of a successful Appeal against the pre-existing disqualification, this could result in a reduced period of disqualification. Although it is noted that the Appeal has now been heard and the 15 month suspension was reduced to 12 months.
Imposing concurrent periods of disqualification is consistent with the approach taken in the criminal jurisdiction.
Finally, it was submitted that this sentence imposed would provide a precedent for future cases and would undermine public confidence.
The Appellant relied on the general principles set out in RIU v L (2019), including the need to deter others from committing similar offences.
The Respondent’s position
The Respondent made no submissions.
The Penalty Decision related to three separate charges arising from the same Raceday. Two of the charges related directly to animal welfare of Greyhounds, causing unnecessary distress to the animals. The first involved throwing her own dog so that its head hit the back of a kennel. The second charge was picking up a dog trained by another Trainer by the neck and throwing it away from the lure. The third charge was physical violence against another Licenced Person, involving barging the victim into a wall causing bruising.
At first instance, the Appellant had sought a disqualification of 12 months, however at  the Adjudicative Committee was concerned that a further disqualification would be insufficient in the circumstances of a pre-existing disqualification.
The Respondent was already subject to a disqualification of a recent disqualification for 15 months, commencing on 19 April 2023 and finishing on 19 July 2024. Therefore, a further 12 month concurrent disqualification would be of no additional practical restriction commencing on 11 July 2023 and finishing on 11 July 2024.
The 15 month disqualification was reduced on appeal to 12 months and therefore would now expire on 19 April 2024.
The combination of disqualification and a fine was not suggested by the Appellant in the sentencing submissions and therefore not addressed by the Adjudicative Committee, who were properly concerned that penalty sought of 12 months disqualification, would be a hollow penalty because of its concurrent nature. Therefore, fines needed to be a component of the sentence.
However, a fine of relatively modest amounts without disqualification, provided insufficient deterrence in the circumstances of three proved charges and previous proved charges.
The combination of disqualification and fines provides the necessary deterrence in this case. Therefore, a sentence restricted to only modest fines in this case, is manifestly inadequate.
For the reasons set out above the Appeal is granted.
In addition to the $400 fine on each charge, the Respondent is disqualified for 12 months on each charge concurrently commencing from 11 July 2023.
The RIB did not indicate that costs would be sought. No costs are ordered
Decision Date: 13/10/2023
Publish Date: 26/10/2023