Non Raceday Inquiry – Decision dated 4 March 2022 – Adam Scott
Awapuni Racecourse Palmerston North
Penalty: Adam Scott's Licence is suspended for 9 weeks and ordered to pay the ESR analysis cost of $187.50
On the 19th January 2022, at Levin Racecourse, having been required by a Racing Investigator to supply a sample of your urine in accordance with Rule 656(3) of the NZTR Rules of Racing, you provided a sample which upon analysis was found to contain the controlled drug THC (Cannabis) as defined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Penalty Rule 803(3). Subject to Rule 803(2)(b) where any licenceholder who has carried out, is carrying out, or is likely to carry out, a safety sensitive activity at a racecourse, training facility or trainers premises commits or is deemed to have committed a breach of these rules related to drugs or alcohol and a penalty is not provided elsewhere in these rules for that breach, that the licenceholder committing that breach may : (2) Be disqualified for a period not exceeding 5 years, and/or (3) be suspended from holding or obtaining a licence for a period not exceeding 12 months: and/or (4) be fined a sum not exceeding $50,000.
Summary of Facts:
On Wednesday 19th January 2022, officials from the Racing Integrity Board conducted drug testing at the Levin Racecourse. Mr Scott was one of six people selected for testing and was served with the appropriate notice. Mr Scott was reluctant to be tested. Mr Scott explained that he smoked cannabis in order to help him sleep. Following his test, Mr Scott became aggressive toward RIB staff. He advised trainers would be upset with the RIB if he could no longer ride his horses due to a positive test. He expressed his view that the drug should be legal and made derogatory remarks toward investigator Irving and myself (Murrow). At one stage he placed his tongue between his fingers and gesticulated at Mr Irving. The sample was forwarded to ESR for analysis. On the 25th January 2022, ESR confirmed that the urine sample provided by Mr Scott was positive to Cannabis at a THC acid level of >500ng/mL. The stand down order was presented to Mr Scott at Foxton Racecourse on the 27th January 2022. Mr Scott took some time to decide if he wished to proceed with a hearing before deciding he would attend but not return to the racing industry until Cannabis was legal. Mr Scott has no previous charges and has not previously been drug tested.
As the charge was admitted, and subsequent to considering the Summary of Facts, the charge was found proved.
Salient details from RIB Penalty Submissions outline precedent as follows:
RIU v JL Robinson (27/06/18) – level >300ng/mL – six weeks suspension plus $187.50 costs
RIU v T Askew (05/09/17) – level >300ng/mL – six weeks suspension plus $187.50 costs
RIU v S Collins (19/06/17) – level >78ng/mL – six weeks suspension plus $187.50 costs
RIU v K Ormsby (19/06/17) level >110ng/mL – eight weeks suspension plus $187.50 costs (second drug related breach)
Mr Scott understands the use of Cannabis is prohibited under the Rules and he admitted using cannabis prior to being tested. He is a habitual Cannabis user, advising he uses the drug to assist him with sleep. He was referred to Diana Young a Registered Drug and Alcohol Clinician c/o The Salvation Army for counselling, support and rehabilitation. He initially refused to engage with Ms Young. When RIB staff issued a stand down notice Scott advised he would only return to the Industry once the drug was legalised. He demonstrated a belligerent and anti authoritarian attitude toward RIB staff. His behaviour and attitude fell short of that expected of Industry participants. Mr Scott will be issued with a formal warning by the RIB for his behaviour.
Mr Scott entered an early plea. Earlier this week the RIB was contacted by Ms Young, Drug and Alcohol Clinician, advising Mr Scott had made initial contact seeking support. The RIB supports Mr Scott utilising this service.
The RIB seeks an eight week suspension of Mr Scott’s Track Rider’s Licence backdated to 27 January 2022 when he was stood down and costs of the ESR analysis of $187.50. There are a number of aggravating features in this case and Mr Scott’s test results are higher than those cases sighted above. Mr Scott advised he has no intention to stop taking the drug Cannabis and will not return to the Industry until it becomes legalised. As such the RIB requests that Mr Scott provides a negative drug test before his licence is reinstated. This is in the interests of safety to himself, his horses and those riding along side him. Racing is an inherently dangerous sport and prioritising the safety of Riders and horses is imperative. We ask Mr Scott to accept and acknowledge that regular drug testing is fundamental to the integrity and safety of the Industry. We agree with Mr Scott that until he can accept this premise there is no place for him within the Racing fraternity.
The Adjudicative Committee took into account all matters in relation to penalty, including the penalty submissions of the RIB. The Adjudicative Committee did not hear submissions from the Respondent, as he, Mr Scott notified an RIB Administrator on 3 March 2022 that he would not be attending the hearing. The hearing was convened at 11am as scheduled and Mr Scott did not show. The Adjudicative Committee took into account the clear record, admission of the breach, other penalties imposed for breach of Rule 656(3) along with Mr Scott’s lack of cooperation. Of particular importance is a requirement to provide deterrent and to protect the Industry and its participants. The Adjudicative Committee determined that Mr Scott’s Class B Licence be suspended from 27 January 2022 (his stand down date) through to 31 March 2022 (9 weeks) and ordered to pay the ESR analysis cost of $187.50. There is also an order that Mr Scott must provide a negative drug test prior to his licence being reinstated. As this matter was dealt with on race day there was no order as to cost.
Decision Date: 04/03/2022
Publish Date: 07/03/2022