Appeal – Decision dated 31 October 2022 – Daniel Laing
On the papers
Outcome: Appeal Upheld
Penalty: Daniel Laing's period of 15 months disqualification - Last 2 months of disqualification are cancelled; period of disqualification ceases on 18 November 2022
1.1 By a decision of the Appeals Tribunal dated the 14th of September 2021 Mr Laing was disqualified for a period of 15 months commencing on the 18th of October 2021.
1.2 Mr Laing has now applied by his legal Counsel Ms Gilby-Todd for the cancellation of the balance of the disqualification. This application is made pursuant to Rule 73.12 of the Greyhound Racing Rules. Rule 73.12 is as follows:
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in these rules expressed or implied but subject to Rule 73.13 any person who has been disqualified for at least 12 months, or who owns a greyhound which has been disqualified other than for a race, may apply in writing to the Appeals Tribunal for a cancellation of the remainder of the disqualification.
Mr Laing does not seek to renew his Starters Licence but does reapply for his Owner/Trainer, Litter Master and Breeder Licences.
2. Documents Filed in Support of Application
2.1 In addition to the application which was dated the 20th of October 2022 there have been lodged four references in support of the application. These references are from persons well acquainted with Daniel Laing and holding significant positions of responsibility in various of the racing codes.
2.2 The Tribunal has considered the application and the references in support.
3. The Tribunal Referred the Application and References to the RIB for a Response
3.1 By a letter dated the 20th of October 2022 Mr Mike Clement the Chief Executive of the RIB responded. The letter noted that The Tribunal had given full credit for mitigating factors when imposing the penalty of 15 months disqualification. The letter went on to observe that Mr Laing had taken steps to address the driver of his offending. Further and importantly the letter advised that the RIB was neutral on the application of Mr Laing. Finally the letter advised that no approach had been made by the RIB to Greyhound Racing New Zealand. That letter from Mr Clement was referred to Counsel for Mr Laing with an invitation to respond. Receipt of the letter has been acknowledged but no response has been forthcoming. That advice is not intended as criticism.
4. Decision of Tribunal
4.1 The Tribunal considers that it can determine the application upon the papers.
4.2 It is plain from the application and the references in support that Mr Laing has addressed his issue with gambling. He has maintained his employment at The Cambridge Jockey Club and the employer speaks well of him.
4.3 It is noted that the application expressly advises that Mr Laing does not wish to seek to renew his Starters Licence at Greyhound Racing. The application acknowledges that New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing issued a decision in December 2021 recognising the disqualification that had been imposed but allowing Mr Laing to continue his employment at The Cambridge Jockey Club and as noted above the employer speaks well of his engagement there.
4.4 The Tribunal has given consideration to previous decisions where applications have been made to cancel a period of disqualification. Contemporary relevant decisions are L v RIU 29 May 2020 and L v RIU 15 June 2021. It was the same applicant on each occasion. That involved Harness Racing. The offending for which Mr L had been disqualified was significantly more serious than the offending by Mr Laing. The application for cancellation was declined on both occasions.
4.5 The Tribunal is persuaded that Mr Laing has conducted himself appropriately during the period of disqualification and further it is significant that the advice in the reference from The Salvation Army establishes that Mr Laing has positively addressed the gambling issue.
4.6 In the circumstances outlined the Tribunal is persuaded that the application for cancellation should be granted. It is considered appropriate that the cancellation involve the last two months of the 15 month period. That will mean that the period of disqualification will cease on the 18th of November 2022 subject to what is said in paragraph 4.8 below.
4.7 The RIB is to advise Greyhound Racing New Zealand of this decision.
4.8 While acknowledging that the application had merit the Tribunal does record that there has been expense incurred in a consideration and determination of the application. In those circumstances Mr Laing should make some modest contribution towards the costs incurred by the Appeals Tribunal. He is ordered to pay the sum of $300. The cancellation of the disqualification will not take place until there is confirmation of the payment of that costs order.
DATED this 31st day of October 2022
Signed pursuant to Rule 73.5 of the NZ Greyhound Rules of Racing
Decision Date: 31/10/2022
Publish Date: 01/11/2022