Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Penalty Decision dated 11 July 2023 – Alysha Waretini
LITTLE HERO and DOUBLE THUNDER
Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024
Addington Raceway, Christchurch
Penalty: Licensed Handler Alysha Waretini is fined $1,200
1. The Adjudicative Committee issued a Decision on this matter on 8 June 2023. That Decision followed a hearing that took place on 31 May 2023, at which the Adjudicative Committee found three charges proved.
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.
2. The Adjudicative Committee made further directions in its Decision for the parties to file submissions as to penalty. Submissions were received from the Informant on 23 June 2023.
3. A brief submission was made by the Respondent by email dated 23 June 2023.
4. The three charges Ms Waretini faces arise under Rule 156 of the Rules of Greyhound Racing NZ (GRNZ).
5. Rule 156 provides:
156 General offences
An offence is committed if a person (including an official):
(f) has, in relation to a greyhound or greyhound racing, done something, or omitted to do something, which, in the opinion of GRNZ or the Racing Integrity Board:
(i) is corrupt, fraudulent, or dishonest;
(ii) constitutes misconduct or is negligent or improper;
6. The relevant purposes and considerations in determining penalty are set out in RIU v L (RIU v L ):
A common thread in cases involving serious misconduct is for the regulatory tribunal to focus on the interests and reputation of the profession as being more important than the fortunes of the individual offending member…the Tribunal must endeavour to reach a proportionate balance between
• The public interest
• The interests of the offending member
• The interests of the professional body as a whole
• The seriousness of the offending
• Any aggravating and mitigating factors
INFORMANT’S SUBMISSIONS AS TO PENALTY
7. The Informant highlights that the Greyhound Industry is under constant scrutiny with significant negative media interest and perception issues in the general public. It is submitted the physical abuse of Greyhounds and another Licence Holder at the meeting further damage the integrity of the Code.
8. The Informant notes there is little by way of comparable cases, although draws the Adjudicative Committee’s attention to the case of RIU v McInerney (RIU v McInerney ), where a Trainer was fined $500 when they removed a muzzle and blinkers from another Trainer’s dog at the lure. The committee commented that it was never proper, except in exceptional circumstances for a handler to interfere with a dog trained by another trainer.
9. The Informant also notes the case of RIU v M Flipp (RIU v M Flipp ), where a Licensed Trainer committed an improper act by kicking her Greyhound once at trial when it was proven to be difficult to box.
10. In relation to the assault, while there is no similar case to the assault on Mr Grant, the Adjudicative Committee does note the cases of RIU v Seque and Simonsen (RIU v P Seque & M Simonsen ), where a five month’s disqualification was imposed following a headbutt in response to provocation.
11. The Informant notes the Respondent has two previous behaviour related charges.
12. In April of 2022 she was fined $500 for failing to follow a lawful directive of a Steward to wear a face covering while in the kennel block.
13. In November of 2018, the Respondent was fined $750 when she admitted to directing improper insulting and offensive language towards a Steward.
14. Most recently, the Respondent was disqualified in April 2023 for 15 months and ordered to pay $7,090 in costs in relation to being a person in charge of a Greyhound that was presented to a race with a Prohibited Substance (Methamphetamine) in its system. It is noted this Decision is presently subject to appeal.
15. The Informant submits that it is evident from both this case and previous cases, that the Respondent has issues with authority and difficulty managing her anger.
16. The Informant seeks a penalty of 12 months disqualification.
17. Ms Waretini has provided an email in response which features what is known as a series of laughing/crying emojis and in which she states:
Ironic how integrity is in the name of which you work for but there is absolutely no integrity whatsoever I find that hilarious. Ruining an innocent person’s life but I tell you this the good always finishes on top so just be certain karma will come for you all and karma’s biggest hate is exactly the way I feel I have been treated by you all.
18. As is emphasised in RIB v L (RIB v L ), the privilege of having a Licence to work as a professional in any profession carries with it a duty to abide by the Rules and ethics of it.
19. As is highlighted by the Informant in their submissions, the Greyhound Industry is facing considerable public scrutiny and issues as to social licence which impacts its future to operate. The actions of the Respondent do not help public perception.
20. The Adjudicative Committee recognises the need to uphold and maintain high standards and expectations of Licenced Persons to maintain the integrity of the sport of Greyhound Racing and protect all participants in the sport, Industry and public. As such, deterrence is a significant consideration.
21. Animal welfare considerations are also prominent, and the Adjudicative Committee notes two of the three charges related to the Respondent’s behaviour towards Greyhounds on a Raceday.
22. Lastly, the Adjudicative Committee notes the behaviour of the Respondent in physically assaulting another Licenced Person is never behaviour which can be condoned, no matter the circumstances, and certainly not in the context of at a race venue on a Raceday where all Industry participants are entitled to expect a safe working environment.
23. There is little for the Adjudicative Committee to consider by way of mitigation, this is perhaps aggravated by the “submissions” received from the Respondent.
24. The Adjudicative Committee also observes that the Respondent has previous charges for offences under the Rules, including most seriously, the recent disqualification for presenting a dog she was in control of which tested positive for Methamphetamine.
25. The response received from the Respondent, as to submissions on penalty, coupled with her failure to attend the substantive hearing, which was convened in person following her indication that she wished to defend the charges, demonstrate an attitude that could be described as something bordering contemptuous.
26. The Adjudicative Committee would urge the Respondent to seek appropriate support, particularly if she envisages any ongoing future in the Industry.
27. The Adjudicative Committee considers imposing a further concurrent disqualification period of 12 months would not be sufficient in the circumstances.
28. Instead, the Adjudicative Committee considers the imposition of a fine is appropriate, taking guidance from the level of fine imposed in the cases referred to by the Informant, and also noting the three separate charges.
29. With a starting point of a fine of $500 for each charge and considering the fact that the incidents (although each a separate breach of the Rules) all occurred on the one day, with regard to the totality of the penalty, the Adjudicative Committee reduces the fine by $100 in each instance.
30. The Adjudicative Committee determines the fines as follows:
a. In relation to the improper act of 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. The Adjudicative Committee imposes a fine of $400.
b. In relation to the improper act of picking up the Greyhound “DOUBLE THUNDER” by the neck and throwing it away from the lure. The Adjudicative Committee imposes a fine of $400.
c. In relation to the misconduct of 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 imposes a fine of $400.
31. The result is a total fine in respect of the three charges of $1200.
32. The Informant seeks costs in the amount of $850, being costs associated with expenses incurred for the prosecutor and the witness to attend the defended hearing, and transcription of evidence.
33. The Adjudicative Committee considers this is an appropriate case where costs are imposed on the Respondent.
34. In coming to this decision, the Adjudicative Committee notes that a hearing was convened in person in Christchurch at the Respondent’s request following indication at a preliminary teleconference that the charges would be defended.
35. The Respondent failed to appear at the hearing, offered no explanation and when contacted after the hearing had commenced, advised she had moved to Wellington the night prior.
36. The Respondent is ordered to pay costs of $850.
Decision Date: 11/07/2023
Publish Date: 13/07/2023