Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Decision dated 9 October 2023 – Alysha Waretini
On the papers
Penalty: To be determined
1. The Respondent, Ms Waretini, faces a charge:
THAT On the 31st of May 2023, Alysha Waretini, a disqualified person, failed to appear at the NRI Hearing at Addington Raceway without giving notice in accordance with r 24.3 of the Third Schedule, being an offence under r 24.4 of that Schedule in breach of r 156(a) and punishable pursuant to r 174(1) of the GRNZ Rules.
2. Rule 24.3 states: “A defendant who does not appear at the hearing of the Information may admit the breach of the GRNZ Rules alleged in that Information by giving written notice to the Adjudicative Committee that the defendant does so and the Adjudicative Committee shall have the same power to deal with the defendant as if the defendant had appeared before it and admitted that breach.”
3. Rule 24.4 provides: “A defendant who fails to appear at the hearing without sufficient cause or without giving notice in accordance with Rule 24.3 of this Schedule commits an offence as a breach of the GRNZ Rules.”
4. The penalty provision is r 174(1) which states:
“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 following penalties:
(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 r 159;
(e) cancellation of a registration or a licence, or in the case of a Club, its affiliation to GRNZ; or
(f) warning off.”
5. A teleconference was convened with the parties on Thursday, 31 August 2023. Ms Waretini stated that she was pleading not guilty to the charge.
6. When the Chairman stated in that case the matter would need to be set down for a hearing, Ms Waretini stated that she would be self-represented as she could not afford a lawyer, but would not appear in any event.
7. Ms Waretini outlined the reasons for her non-appearance at the hearing on 31 May last and stated she no longer believed she had a place in the Industry. That being the case, she said there was no benefit in her appearing at any hearing of this charge (Information A16916). But she confirmed that “100 per cent she was pleading not guilty”.
8. In order to give Ms Waretini a little time to reflect further on her plea and stated non-attendance at any hearing, a further teleconference was scheduled for 1 pm on Tuesday 5 September 2023. Both Ms Waretini and Mr Irving confirmed that this time was convenient. Ms Waretini did not attend this teleconference.
9. The Informant subsequently filed two signed witness statements and indicated it wished the matter to proceed.
10. In a Minute dated 14 September 2023, the Adjudicative Committee determined that the matter would be determined on the papers.
11. In that Minute dated 14 September 2023, Ms Waretini was given 10 working days (until 3pm 29 September) to respond to the Informant’s evidence. She was given the opportunity to do so either by way of a written response (affidavit or otherwise) or, if she so wished, by oral response at a teleconference, and was to notify Mrs Ward, Administration Specialist, Racing Integrity Board, on or before 3pm 29 September 2023 in order to stipulate a time that was convenient to her.
12. Ms Waretini did not respond to the Minute.
13. Mr Simon Irving stated that he is employed by the Racing Integrity Board as a Senior Racing Investigator. At 11.00am on Wednesday 8 March 2023 he served three Information’s on Alysha Waretini outside the Greyhound Stewards’ Room at Addington Raceway, following her hearing on an unrelated matter. Also accompanying the Information’s were the relevant Charge Rule and Penalty Provisions document and a Summary of Facts.
14. Mr Irving duly informed Ms Waretini that she was being charged for her behaviour towards two Greyhounds and Trainer Malcom Grant at the Addington Races the week prior.
15. Mr Irving completed a Service of Information Confirmation form and filed the charging documents with the Executive Officer of the Adjudicative Committee later that day.
16. Neil Grimstone stated that he is employed by the Racing Integrity Board as the Manager of Investigations. At 11.00am on Wednesday 31 May 2023 he was the RIB prosecutor in a Non Raceday hearing of the matter of RIB v Alysha Waretini held in the Greyhound Stewards’ Room at Addington Raceway.
17. There were three charges to be heard against Ms Waretini relating to alleged Misconduct breaches arising from Raceday on 28 February last.
18. Just prior to the scheduled start time of midday, it became apparent that Ms Waretini was not present. He confirmed with the Investigator in charge of the case, Mr Simon Irving, that the three Information’s and associated charging documents had been served personally on Ms Waretini on 8 March 2023 at Addington Raceway.
19. Mr Grimstone also confirmed that there had been a teleconference on 21 April at which Ms Waretini denied the charges and stated that she would contest them at the hearing, that she would be self-represented, and she would be calling one to three witnesses in her defence.
20. Mr Grimstone requested Mr Scott Wallis, Chief Greyhound Steward to telephone Ms Waretini. He rang but received no answer.
21. Mr Grimstone contacted the Executive Officer of the Adjudicative Committee, Mrs Catherine Hutton, and requested that she contact Ms Waretini.
22. A short time later Mrs Hutton informed Mr Grimstone that she had spoken by telephone to Ms Waretini who had informed her that she had moved to Wellington the previous evening and, when offered the option to partake in the hearing via telephone, Ms Waretini terminated the call.
23. Ms Waretini has not refuted the evidence of Mr Irving or Mr Grimstone, which the Adjudicative Committee accepts.
24. The Adjudicative Committee finds that the Information’s and charging documents were correctly served on Ms Waretini and that she was aware that a hearing of the matter had been set down for 31 May 2023. This had been determined at a teleconference on 21 April at which Ms Waretini denied the charges and stated that she would contest them at the hearing, that she would be self-represented, and she would be calling witnesses in her defence.
25. When Ms Waretini did not attend the hearing, Mr Grimstone had Mr Wallis call Ms Waretini. He received no reply. Mr Grimstone then requested Mrs Hutton call Ms Waretini. She spoke to Ms Waretini who stated that she had travelled to Wellington the previous day and when Mrs Hutton offered her the opportunity to participate in the hearing by way of telephone, Ms Waretini terminated the call.
26. At the teleconference on 31 August Ms Waretini stated that she had left Christchurch the day before the hearing due to personal reasons and that was why she had not attended the hearing. She also stated she believed that she no longer had a place in the Industry.
27. There is no evidence before the Adjudicative Committee that Ms Waretini gave notice in accordance with r 24.3 or indeed that her failure to appear was with sufficient cause; (insufficient cause is an alternative charge under r 24.4, as worded).
28. In these circumstances, the Adjudicative Committee finds the charge that on 31 May 2023 Ms Waretini failed to appear at the NRI Hearing at Addington Raceway without giving notice in accordance with r 24.3 of the Third Schedule of the GRNZ Rules to be proved.
29. This is an offence under r 24.4 of the Third Schedule and is a breach of r 156(a), which is punishable pursuant to r 174(1).
30. The Adjudicative Committee requires that the Informant files written submissions as to penalty with the RIB by 3pm Tuesday 17 October 2023 and that the Respondent, Ms Waretini, files written submissions in response by 3pm Friday 27 October 2023. Should Ms Waretini wish to make oral submissions, she is to inform Mrs Hutton by 3pm Tuesday 24 October 2023 and a teleconference will be organised for the following week.
Decision Date: 09/10/2023
Publish Date: 10/10/2023