Non Raceday Inquiry – Written Penalty Decision dated 6 November 2023 – Alysha Waretini
Nil - on the papers
Penalty: Alysha Waretini is disqualified for 3 months
1. In its Decision of 9 October last, the Adjudicative Committee found the Respondent, Ms Waretini, to be in breach of r 156(a), in that she committed an offence under r 24.4 of the Third Schedule of the GRNZ Rules by failing to appear at the NRI Hearing at Addington Raceway on 31 May 2023 without giving notice in accordance with r 24.3 of the Third Schedule.
2. The Adjudicative Committee called for penalty submissions.
3. The Adjudicative Committee has received submissions from the Informant, but Ms Waretini has not responded.
4. The penalty provision is r 174(1) which provides:
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 $10,000.00 for any one offence …;
(e) cancellation of a registration or a licence …; or
(f) warning off
Informant’s Penalty Submission
5. The RIB submitted that the penalty should be a 3-month disqualification, cumulative upon the Respondent’s current disqualification.
6. The Informant maintained that when determining penalty, the Adjudicative Committee should have regard to the purpose of the proceedings which include: to ensure the Rules are complied with; and to uphold and maintain the high standards expected of Officials and Licence Holders alike.
7. The Respondent was currently on the NZGRA Defaulters list owing $7,590 in fines and costs, so a monetary penalty was unlikely to be a further deterrent.
8. The charge of ‘failing to appear’, the Informant believed, was the first in NZ Racing judicial history, so it was important to send a clear message to the Industry that serious consequences would follow for this type of offence.
9. The RIB was not aware of any comparable cases in any of the three Codes where a Respondent had been charged with wilfully failing to appear at an NRI, which it submitted was indicative of the responsibility and obligation shown by all Licence Holders when facing charges.
10. The only case cited to the Adjudicative Committee was RIU v T Furner (2018) where a Greyhound Trainer left the country when facing a charge for a caffeine positive returned by his dog in 2014. It was not recorded why Mr Furner left before the charge was heard and what his reason was for not giving notice, however this was considered to be an aggravating factor in establishing penalty.
11. The Informant outlined the Respondent’s previous breaches:
In July 2023, she was fined $1200 on three conduct related charges occurring at the same race meeting. That penalty was currently under appeal.
In April 2023, she was disqualified for 12 months (on appeal) for being the person in charge of a Greyhound which tested positive to Methamphetamine.
In April 2023, she was fined $500 for failing to follow a lawful directive of a Steward to wear a face covering while in the kennel block, relating to Covid restrictions in place in June 2022. Ms Waretini had failed to pay this fine.
In 2018, she was fined $750 when admitting a charge of directing improper, insulting and offensive language towards a Steward.
12. The Informant submitted that the Respondent had “shown nothing but contempt for the judicial process by failing to appear. She stated in a teleconference six weeks prior, that she denied the charges and would contest them at the hearing and call 1-3 witnesses in her defence. Considerable time and resources were expended in preparing and conducting the hearing. When spoken to by the Executive Officer, the Respondent advised that she had moved to Wellington the night before and offered no apology or cause, before terminating the call.”
13. The Informant said further: “In the first of two proceeding teleconferences, the Respondent maintained her innocence of all charges that she has ever faced, disputed receiving documentation that was proven to have been provided, and was belligerent in her attitude towards progressing the matter. She did not engage in the second teleconference as arranged, once again giving no notice.”
14. The RIB was unaware of any mitigating factors, but accepted the Respondent’s comment during the teleconference that she no longer believed she had a place in the Industry.
15. The RIB did not seek costs.
Decision as to Penalty
16. Ms Waretini has failed to appear at a scheduled hearing on 31 May last of 3 charges laid against her by the RIB. The Adjudicative Committee will not detail the facts of the matter in this Decision. They are to be found in its Decision of 9 October.
17. The Respondent has failed to appear at a scheduled teleconference with respect to this matter. She has also failed to avail herself of the opportunity to make penalty submissions. This is her right, of course, but the Adjudicative Committee is unable to have regard to any mitigating factors, such as any extenuating personal circumstances, when these are not brought to its notice. The Adjudicative Committee accepts Ms Waretini’s response reflects her belief that she no longer has a place in Greyhound Racing.
18. The RIB is correct when it states that the Respondent’s actions call into question the integrity of the Industry. There is a need to denounce her omission and to deter her and any like-minded Licence Holder from any repeat.
19. In addition to the inconvenience to witnesses, the Informant, and the Adjudicative Committee, there were costs associated with the hearing, which were not necessary had the Respondent informed the Executive Officer of the RIB or the Informant in a timely manner that she would not be appearing, or that she wished to seek an adjournment.
20. The imposition of a fine is inappropriate not only for the reason outlined in the Informant’s submissions, but the Adjudicative Committee also believes the gravity of this particular breach can only be met by way of a disqualification. However, this need not be lengthy.
21. The penalty is a 3-month period of disqualification, which the Adjudicative Committee directs, in accordance with the provisions of r 176(b), is to be served cumulatively upon the disqualification imposed by an Adjudicative Committee on 19 April 2023, which was subsequently reduced to 12 months on appeal.
22. There is no order for costs.
Decision Date: 06/11/2023
Publish Date: 06/11/2023