Non Raceday Inquiry – Penalty Decision dated 26 July 2021 – Daniel Laing
Penalty: Starter Daniel Laing is disqualified for 2 years
PENALTY DECISION OF ADJUDICATIVE COMMITTEE (FORMERLY JUDICIAL COMMITTEE)
 This is the Penalty Decision arising from an admitted charge filed against Licenced Greyhound Starter Mr Daniel Laing (“the Respondent”) who breached r12.2 (d) between 4 June 2020 and 13 June 2021 when employed as a Licensed Starter under the Rules of Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ).
 Authority to prosecute the Respondent was provided by the RIU General Manager Mr Godber, pursuant to Rule 66.2(a).
Determination on the papers
 With the consent of the parties, the Judicial Committee (“the Committee”) made its determination as to penalty ‘on the papers’ pursuant to paragraph 21.1 of the Common Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committee and Appeals Tribunal contained in the Seventh Schedule of the Rules of New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Inc. Clause 21.1 provides that: Where the Judicial Committee deems it appropriate, any matter or proceeding may be determined solely on the basis of the documents and evidence filed by the parties, without the need for an oral hearing.
 The Committee was provided with and examined various documents including Information Number A13551, the agreed summary of facts, penalty submissions and the Respondents wagering records between 4 June 2020 and 13 June 2021.
 Information Number A13551 alleges that the Respondent:
Between 4 June 2020 and 13 June 2021 placed betting transactions at meetings in which he was the official starter.
 The relevant Rules are as follows:
Rule 12.2 provides that:
No Official shall directly or indirectly engage in any betting transaction at a Meeting at which he/she officiates, or is assisting, in one of the following positions: (d) Starter
 For the purpose of the Rule, ‘Starter’ is defined as the person appointed by a Club or by Stewards pursuant to Rule 72. See at Appendix 1 – Rule 72 which sets out the roles and responsibilities the Starter.
 Rule 63.1 provides that:
Any Person found guilty of an Offence under these Rules shall be liable to:
(a) a fine not exceeding $10,000.00 for any one (1) Offence except a luring/baiting Offence under Rule 86; and/or
(b) Suspension; and/or
(c) Disqualification; and/or
(d) Warning Off.
 The Respondent admitted the charge and endorsed the Information “I do admit the breach of the rule”.
Summary of Facts
 The facts are not in dispute and the Respondent has signed the summary of facts.
 The Respondent is a Licensed Starter under the Rules of Greyhound Racing New Zealand.
 On the 13 June 2021, the Respondent was the official Starter at the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club’s meeting held at the Manukau Sports Bowl.
 Prior to Race 4, which was to be started by Mr G Sharp as the Respondent had the greyhound COSMIC METEOR which he trains engaged in this race Stewards were informed by Racing Integrity Unit Betting Analyst Mr Basil Payn of a win bet placed by the Respondent on this greyhound. Stewards then enquired as to whether there were any other bets placed on the day by the Respondent in which it was established the following bets had been placed.
 Following Race 4 the Respondent was requested to attend the Stewards room where he was questioned by the Chief Stipendiary Steward regarding his betting activity on the day to which he confessed to placing the above bets.
 The Respondent was also questioned as to whether he knew GRNZ Rule L2.2(d) which prohibits him from placing a betting transaction. He acknowledged that he was aware he was not allowed to place bets when working as the Starter and that he was “dumb for doing so”.
 The Respondent was stood down for the remainder of the meeting and an investigation was opened into the matter. This investigation has found that from the period starting 4 June 2020 to 13 June 2021 the Respondent placed a total of 188 fixed odds or multi bets at race meeting at which he was officiating at the Starter. It was further established that in addition to the fixed odds bets, he had placed 13 tote odd bets.
 The Respondent was further questioned regarding the betting transactions on his account through the period 4 June 2020 and 13 June 2021. He advised Stewards these were all placed by himself, while officiating as the Starter knowing he was prohibited to do so under GRNZ rules.
Penalty Submission – Informant
The Informant Mr Wallis provided the following written submissions which are summarised as follows:
 The Respondent is a Starter licenced under the Rules of Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) and has held a Starters licence since the 1 August 2018. He currently holds a Licence with NZGR to train He is 24 years old and has had a lifetime involvement in the racing industry.
 The charge arises from an investigation into the betting transactions placed at meetings in which he was performing official duties.
 The Respondent have admitted a breach of the Rules in relation to a charge of placing a total of 201 betting transactions at race meeting in which he was the official starter from the period starting 4 June 2020 through to 13th June 2021.
 The Informant highlighted the relevant principles of sentencing, namely that:
a) penalties are designed to punish the offender for his/her wrongdoing. They are not meant to be retributive in the sense the punishment is disproportionate to the offence, but the offender must be met with a punishment.
b) In a racing context it is extremely important that a penalty has the effect of deterring others from committing similar offences.
c) A penalty should also reflect the disapproval of the JCA for the type of offending in question; and
d) The need to rehabilitate the offender should be considered.
The Informant submitted that all four have relevance in this case.
 There has not been a similar offence of this nature to be found when looking at previous cases within Greyhound Racing in New Zealand. In support of this penalty the RIU refers the Committee to three previous decisions in Victoria where officials, including a starter have been charged for engaging in betting transactions which may be of some assistance.
GRV v Glass (official starter) – Disqualified for 6 months with 3 months suspended pending no further breaches for 12 months (Appealed to RADB with the appeal dismissed)
GRV v Bovell (kennel attendant) – Disqualified for 6 months with 3 months suspended pending no further breaches for 12 months. (Appealed to RADB with the appeal dismissed)
GRV v Armstrong (club judge) – Disqualified for 9 months with 3 months suspended pending no further breaches for 12 months. (Appealed to RADB with the appeal dismissed)
 That the Respondent has admitted the breach. That the Respondent has been fully co-operative throughout the process.
 That the Respondent has since closed his TAB account on the 17 June 2021.
 That the Respondent has, through the RIU sought professional help for gambling.
 That the Respondents have no previous offending against or breaching the Rules of Racing.
 The Respondent, over a period placed numerous bets while knowing he was prohibited to do so.
 Numerous decisions of Judicial Committees and the Appeals Tribunal have confirmed that penalties imposed for breaches of Rules of Racing must give proper emphasis to accountability and denunciation which in turn operates as a deterrent to others from breaching Rules in a similar way.
 The RIU believe that this breach can be dealt with by way of suspending the Respondent’s Starters Licence. In coming to this conclusion, the RIU submits that a fine alone will not act as a deterrent to others and a disqualification, in these circumstances would automatically result in the Respondent having to give up training his small team of greyhounds.
 The RIU respectfully submits that the Respondent’s starters licence be suspended for 12 months.
Penalty Submission – Respondent
The Respondent Mr Laing provided the following written submissions:
 I accept the penalty submissions made by the RIU but would like to make comment on some of the points and provide some information supporting my penalty submission.
 I feel it would be unfair to use these decisions as a basis for penalty in this case as the circumstances around these cases and penalty are not known.
 While knowing I was not meant to place bets while starting, the full extent and reason for this was not obvious to me until explained by Mr Wallis on 13 June. I pride myself on doing a professional job as Starter to ensure everyone get a fair opportunity and had not considered the perception that placing a bet may bring that into question.
 I accept that a penalty of suspending my Starter Licence needs to be imposed. I feel a disqualification would be an excessive penalty in my circumstances. As Mr Wallis states, I would have to give up training my small team of greyhounds and pups and find homes for 19 dogs. I also have employment at the Cambridge Jockey Club training centre which funds my greyhounds, that would be affected by any disqualification.
 I respectfully would ask the Committee that I do not receive a monetary penalty by way of fine or costs as where possible I am spending my earnings on caring for and improving facilities for my greyhounds. I agreed to having this hearing by way of ‘paper’ submission so both parties would not incur cost.
 Since being interviewed by Mr Wallis on 23 June I have been proactive in helping train new Starters for both Auckland and Cambridge to ensure they are not disadvantaged if my Starters Licence is suspended.
 These proceedings have been a wakeup call for me to the extent that I have closed my TAB account and sought help with my life and to ensure a better future for myself, hopefully in the Greyhound Industry.
 While accepting the RIU submission of a suspension of my Starters Licence I would ask the Committee that I am given credit for the mitigating factors in both the RIU and my submissions. I also ask that serious consideration to be given to part of the penalty being ‘suspended’ pending no serious breaches under the Rules for a period of time.
Reasons for Penalty
 The Respondent has admitted one representative charge, the particulars of which are set out in paragraph (5). The charge was filed pursuant to r12.1 represents breaches encompassing multiple betting transactions (188 Fixed odds and 13 tote bets) which were committed in similar circumstances over the 12-month period, 4 June 2020 to 13 June 2021. Most of the transactions were no less than $50 per bet.
 The penalty for a charge under this rule (r12.1) is evaluated on a fact dependant basis within the penalty provisions set out in r63.1.
 Following the Respondent’s admission of the charge it deemed to be proved, and on finding a charge proved the Committee may impose any penalty and/or affect any remedy provided by the Rules. In imposing a penalty or affecting any remedy provided in the Rules, the Committee, may have regard to such matters as it considers appropriate (r66.11).
 Although the Rules provide for the maximum penalties that may be imposed, the starting point is at the discretion of the Committee after consideration of the various relevant factors. Such discretion is broad and encompasses, but is not limited to the following factors:
• The need to hold the Respondent accountable and denounce his conduct.
• The need to protect the interests of the Greyhound Industry (specifically) and generally to protect the wider Racing Industry.
• The need to assist with the Respondent’s rehabilitation.
 In addition, in evaluating penalty the Committee has weighed up and had due regard for the following issues: (1) the particular facts of the breach including its seriousness; (2) the gravity of the Respondent’s offending and his level of culpability; (3) the Respondent’s personal circumstances; (4) the desirability for consistency so to as ensure the penalty imposed is not too dissimilar to like cases; and (5) to ensure that public trust and confidence in the integrity of Racing is preserved.
 With regards to the seriousness of the breach and the gravity of the Respondent’s offending we have determined the breach to be at the higher end of seriousness. This is because the breach involved multiple betting transactions executed over a prolonged period. Made worse by the fact that the Respondent on his own admissions told Stewards that he was aware that he was not permitted to bet at race meetings where he was officiating, but he continued to knowingly flout the Rules. On that basis his culpability is also considered to be at the higher end of the scale.
 There is no specific evidence that in his capacity as Official Starter the Respondent dishonestly manipulated the outcome of the races in which placed bets. However, given that the Official Starter has a wide range of roles and responsibilities, as set out in r72 (refer Appendix A), there is always potential for manipulation to occur. Moreover, from an integrity perspective the optics of any official placing a bet, who may be able to influence the outcome of a race, is never a good look. That said, the Respondent is entitled to operate a TAB betting account and he is entitled to place a bet when not working at a race meeting as the Official Starter.
 We have given thorough consideration to the Respondent’s personal circumstances and the impact that any penalty will have on him. In that regard we have noted that as a 24-year-old much of his adult life has been spent in and around the Greyhound Industry. Also, in addition to being employed as a Starter, the Respondent holds a License to Train, and we understand that he currently trains a small team. Given that background the Committee is mindful that any penalty we impose, commensurate with his offending, will impact on the Respondent’s current and future personal circumstances. We have had regard for the Respondent’s submissions which have provided us with a detailed insight into the various consequences any penalty, involving disqualification, suspension or monetary will have on him, directly and indirectly.
 We have also taken note of the references and testimonials that have been lodged in support of the Respondent. It is clear, based on the comments of his referees, that he is highly regarded, hard-working official and a young man of good character. He has the full support of his mother and other Industry participants.
 We are conscious that the penalty we arrive at is consistent with like cases.
 Mr Wallis for the RIU in his submission advised there has not been a similar offence of this nature within Greyhound Racing in New Zealand. He referred the Committee to three (2011) GRV cases which all involved betting transactions by an Official which resulted in penalties ranging between 6- and 9-months disqualification with 3 months being suspended. Of note the case of GRV v Glass (6 months disqualification) related to the Official Starter.
 It is worth mentioning that the GRV penalty regime differs slightly from GRNZ in that in GRV (r95) provides for penalties to be imposed at the discretion of the Controlling Body or the Stewards and that any portion of a penalty imposed may be suspended for such time and pursuant to such conditions as ordered by the Controlling Body or Stewards. Under GRNZ Rules penalty provisions are as outlined in r63.1 (refers paragraph 7), and there is no express provision within the Rules for penalties to be suspended. The other main difference between the GRV and NZGR penalty regime is that whereas NZGR Rule 63.1 provides for $10,000 fine Suspension; and/or Disqualification; and/or Warning Off, the GRV start, and end points are open ended and provide for part of a disqualification or suspension to the ‘suspended’.
 Whereas there has not been a detected breach of this Rule within New Zealand Greyhound Racing, there have been several breaches in Thoroughbred and Harness Racing.
 The Committee has taken guidance from the findings in two cases which provide some assistance in establishing starting and end points for this case: namely the Appeal decision RIU v S Lawson (13 May 2019) and RIU v D Quirke (5 February 2016).
 On Appeal Mr Lawson, an Open Horseman and Trainer was disqualified for a period of 2 years 6 months. This replaced the order for an 18-month suspension and fine. It was said by the Appeal Tribunal Chair, his Hon J W Gendall QC  “The order for suspension of the driving licence of Mr Lawson is manifestly inappropriate and inadequate as is the 18-month term. The crucial needs of the public, punters and others who rely upon a reputation of probity and integrity predominate over any personal wishes of Mr Lawson.  Little significance is to be placed on the submission made to the Judicial Committee that disqualification will affect others (his training partner, owners of horses trained, lessor of premises, suppliers of products). Removal from society (if imprisoned) or from a profession because of serious misconduct is a frequent and inevitable consequence that follows upon necessary sentences or sanctions. Where there is serious misbehaviour by a professional of behaviour involving deliberate dishonest conduct in breach of the rules of the profession, of the rules, which we find was the case here, the privilege of remaining in the profession should usually be forfeited and repercussions on others is inevitable”.
 With respect to Mr D Quirke the Chief Handicapper for Thoroughbred Racing New Zealand, who admitted 14 betting charges, the Committee in that case imposed a 10-month disqualification and $4000 fine. In that case the Committee Chair, Mr M McKechnie said it was of note that both Counsel (for RIU) and Respondent accepted for a charge of this nature a period of disqualification was inevitable.
 It is noted by this Committee that the circumstances of Lawson and Quirke are not entirely the same as the circumstances of this case, but they are useful and relevant for benchmarking purposes. Also, as was highlighted by the Appeal Chair, Hon Sir John Hansen in the Appeal B Orange v RIU (8 March 2021), the relative differences in each Code’s penalty regime must be factored into penalty decision making. In Orange it was said at paragraphs 20 to 22:
The maximum penalty under the Rules of Harness Racing is a 12-month suspension and/or a $10,000 fine. A driver commits a breach of these Rules who presents himself or herself within 1 hour prior to the start of the race in which he or she is engaged to drive or who drives in a race commits a breach of these Rules.
That must be compared with the Thoroughbred Racing Rules, where an offending jockey can be disqualified for up to two years and fined up to $50,000, in addition to a suspension of 12 months. This is clearly a much more significant maximum sentence. We presume it is to recognize the elevated danger levels in Thoroughbred Racing.
It can be assumed that the starting point for cases for breaches of the Thoroughbred Racing Rules consider that maximum penalty. In the same way, breaches of r 513 must take into account the maximum penalty under the Harness Racing Rules. We are satisfied it was wrong for the JCA to simply transpose a case under the Thoroughbred Racing Rules with a significantly higher maximum penalty and a very much higher alcohol level to reach a starting point that it did in this case.
 In this regard both the NZGR and HRNZ penalties are more aligned with each other. NZTR being an outlier because an offender can be disqualified for up to two years and fined up to $50,000, in addition to a suspension of 12 months.
 In his submission the Respondent submitted that it would be unfair to use the precedent decisions as a basis for penalty decision making because the circumstances of those cases are not known. Whilst it is accepted the details of offending are not known, the decisions are relevant to the extent they are related to Officials, including a Starter, within the Greyhound Industry who placed betting transactions whilst officiating.
We have placed some weight on the following mitigating factors:
 That the Respondent has been fully co-operative throughout the process and based on his penalty submission he now appreciates the gravity of his offending and indicates genuine remorse.
 That the Respondent admitted the breach at the first available opportunity and agreed to have the penalty determined on the papers, thus avoiding the need for a costly and time consuming ‘in person’ hearing.
 That the Respondent closed his TAB account on the 17 June 2021.
 That the Respondent has sought professional help for gambling. The panel is in receipt of a letter from Ms Dianna Young (AOD Clinician to the Racing Industry) and Mr Grant Reihana confirming the Respondent’s referral for treatment.
 That the Respondent has not previously offended against or breached any of the Rules of Racing.
 That several well-respected Industry participants have provided references / testimonials in support of the Respondent’s good character.
 That the Respondent placed many bets, over a sustained period, while working at race meetings in which he was employed as the Starter.
 That the betting transactions cannot be characterised as one-off mistakes or errors of judgement.
 That the Respondent knew full well he was prohibited from betting whilst working yet he chose to disregard the Rules; he therefore must now accept the consequences and be accountable for his wrongdoings.
 There is no evidence to suggest the Respondent, in his capacity as the Race Starter had dishonestly influenced the results of races he was officiating at whilst placing bets on those races. But it is inevitable that there will be some critics who may cast aspersions. Therefore, the optics of the Respondent’s offending from a public trust and confidence perspective does not reflect well on him personally or the Greyhound Industry generally. It without doubt needlessly brings into question the integrity of the sport of Racing.
Suspension or disqualification
 It was Mr Wallis’ submissions that the Committee suspend the Respondent’s Starters Licence for 12 months.
 The RIU submitted that the breach could be dealt with by way of suspending the Respondent’s Starters Licence, as opposed to disqualification because a disqualification in these circumstances would automatically result in the Respondent having to give up training his small team of Greyhounds.
 The Committee believes that imposing a 12-month suspension of the Respondent’s Starters Licence is inappropriate as it would not truly reflect the gravity of the breach or the Respondent’s culpability.
 It is worth highlighting that in the Lawson case, Mr Lawson placed two bets, one of $50 and another of $100 on horses in races that he drove. His original penalty of 18 months suspension and $8000 fine was appealed by the RIU. Refer paragraph 34 of the Appeal Tribunal decision in RIU v Lawson of 13 May 2019, where the Chair Hon J W Gendall QC said, Counsel for the RIU submitted that a period of disqualification must follow for this offending and that the Judicial Committee erred in imposing an inappropriate sanction of 18 months suspension of the Open Horseman licence and a fine (substantial as that was). The RIU contend the penalty was manifestly inadequate.
The Appeal was allowed resulting in Mr Lawson being disqualified for a period of 2 years 6 months and the fine was quashed.
 We are conscious that a disqualification will result in the Respondent having to give up training for the period of his disqualification. However, the opportunity to receive and hold a License to Train is a privilege not a right. We are mindful that a disqualification will require his small team of greyhounds to be transferred into the care of another Trainer. But this very point was well emphasised in the Lawson Appeal decision by his Hon J W Gendall QC, who said that a disqualification will have impacts (on owners, premises, and suppliers etc), but the overriding consequence is, as he put it at (para 52) is that “removal from society (if imprisoned) or from a profession because of serious misconduct is a frequent and inevitable consequence that follows upon necessary sentences or sanctions. Where there is serious misbehaviour by a professional of behaviour involving deliberate dishonest conduct in breach of the rules of the profession, of the rules, which we find was the case here, the privilege of remaining in the profession should usually be forfeited and repercussions on others is inevitable”.
 As we have previously highlighted elsewhere in this decision, while there has been no evidence the Respondent influenced the outcome of Greyhound races he bet on when he was the official Starter, the public may perceive, given the roles and responsibilities that are entrusted in the Starter, that he ‘could have’ impacted the result. This perception, rightly or wrongly, is exacerbated by the fact that he placed over 200 betting transactions on such races. His offending was consistent over a long period of time, and he knew or ought to have known that he was seriously in breach of the Code Rules. Further, he appears to have made no effort to stop betting or make any attempt to rehabilitate himself until Stipendiary Stewards opened their investigation.
 Having weighed up the various factors and taking some guidance from the parameters set in the decisions referred to, with an emphasis on the Appeal decision RIU v Lawson and the NRI decision RIU v Quirke we believe an appropriate penalty in this case rests between the Lawson (2 years and 6 months disqualification end point) and Quirke (10 months disqualification and $4000 fine). The Starting point in Lawson was 3 years and 9 months and no starting point was identified in the Quirke decision.
 Therefore, in the final result we adopt a starting point of 2 years and 6 months. We afford the Respondent a generous 6-month (20%) discount in recognition of the combined mitigating factors set out in paragraphs (57 – 62), namely for his early guilty plea; his cooperation with Stewards; his good record, his character references / testimonials and his willingness to have the matter heard ‘on the papers’ thus reducing the need for a costly investigation and hearing.
 The Respondent is disqualified for a period of 2 years. This disqualification includes all NZGR Licenses held by the Respondent (rr63.4, 63.5 (a) to (f) set out the impacts of disqualification).
 With respect to his Trainers’ Licence, the disqualification will take effect 9 days from the publication of this decision to enable the Respondent to make alternative arrangements for the training and care of his dogs.
 Because this matter was dealt with ‘on the papers’ pursuant to para 21.1 of the Common Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committee there will be no order as to costs.
G R Jones (Chair)
A Godsalve (Member)
APPENDIX A – The roles and Responsibilities of the Starter
Rule 72. STARTER
72.1 Races shall be started by the Starter appointed by the Club or the Stewards.
72.2 The Starter may give all such orders and take all such measures as he/she considers necessary to ensure a fair start.
72.3 When the Greyhounds arrive at the starting boxes for a Race they shall be deemed to be in the Starter’s hands.
72.4 If the Starter is unable to compel the Handler of a Greyhound which is in the Starter’s hands to obey his/her orders, he/she may delay the start and shall report the matter to the Stewards.
72.5 After Greyhounds engaged in a Race are placed in the Starter’s hands, the Starter shall order that any nose straps, head checks, lead, collar, or parade rugs worn by the Greyhounds be removed.
72.6 Where the Starter is of the opinion that a Handler of a Greyhound is having difficulty in placing it in the starting boxes, he/she should seek or render such assistance as is necessary to place the Greyhound in its starting position.
72.7 If the Handler of a Greyhound hinders or attempts to hinder the Starter from carrying out his/her duties pursuant to Rule 72.6, the Handler shall be guilty of an Offence.
72.8 Where a Handler refuses to place a Greyhound in the appropriate starting box as directed by the Starter or a Steward, the Stewards shall withdraw the Greyhound from the Race and the Handler shall be guilty of an Offence.
72.9 The Starter shall be responsible for ensuring that: a. Unless directed otherwise by the Stewards, Greyhounds are to be placed in the starting boxes in odds and evens order, that is, numbers 1-3-5-7 followed by numbers 2-4-6-8;
b. The doors of the starting boxes are securely fastened after all the Greyhounds have been placed therein and no Greyhound is visibly held or caught by doors;
c. Neither he/she nor any other person attracts the attention of any Greyhounds once they have been placed in the starting boxes;
d. Races are started without undue delay by signalling to the Lure Driver to immediately activate the Lure.
72.10 Where the Stewards have declared a Greyhound difficult to place in a starting box, the Stewards shall order that the Greyhound be placed in a starting box prior to other Greyhounds in future Races, and shall cause the Certificate of Registration of the Greyhound to be endorsed “to be boxed first” until such time the Stewards are satisfied that the Greyhound is no longer difficult to place in a starting box.
72.11 The endorsement referred to in Rule 72.10 shall be cancelled if the Stewards are satisfied that the Greyhound is no longer difficult to place in a starting box.
72.12 Once a Greyhound has been placed in a starting box, its position in the box shall not be allowed to be corrected by any Person.
72.13 Where a Greyhound turns in its box and does not, in the opinion of the Stewards, take a competitive part in the Race, then before it can start in a race it shall be required to complete a “box trial”, on such conditions as the Stewards or an Authorised Person, in their sole discretion require.
Decision Date: 26/07/2021
Publish Date: 27/07/2021