Westport TC 28 December 2021 – R4 – David Butt
Westport Trotting Club
Westport Racecourse - 15 Derby Street, Westport, 7825
Penalty: Driver, David Butt is fined $500
Summary of Facts:
Following the running of Race 4, the Respondent Mr Butt admitted a breach of Whip Rule 869(2). The particulars of the charge are that Mr Butt used his whip free of the rein and with more than a wrist flicking motion in the home straight.
Rule 869 provides that:
(2) No driver shall during any race use a whip in a manner in contravention of the Use of the Whip Regulations made by the Board.
Stipendiary Steward, Mr Williams used available video footage to demonstrate the breach. Mr Williams, through use of the video footage, showed Mr Butt use his whip free of the rein on seven occasions and subsequently with more than a wrist flicking motion on four occasions in the home straight. Mr Williams pointed to Ms Ottley yelling at Mr Butt and said Ms Ottley was yelling to Mr Butt to correct his whipping action. Mr Butt accepted that she yelled at him to correct what he was doing.
Mr Butt frankly accepted the non-compliant seven strikes free of the rein. He said he has not driven much under this new Rule, he said when Ms Ottley yelled at him it reminded him and he adjusted the movement. He further accepted that the further four strikes could be considered more than a wrist flicking action, however, they were much closer to a compliant style.
The charge is admitted and therefore proved.
Submission For Penalty:
Mr Williams produced the Mr Butts’ record which indicated he had a clear record under this Rule.
Mr Williams said that Stewards assessed the breach to be mid-range in that he drove for approximately 50 metres with the old style but did revert to a compliant style. Mr Williams submitted that it be dealt with by way of a fine of no less than $500.
The Respondent submitted that he wanted a suspension and said it could be for 12 months. Mr Butt outlined that he is retiring from driving and that this was his last drive. He asked that his career be taken into account and as a matter of good will he should be suspended.
Reasons For Penalty:
After consideration of the evidence from all parties concerned and viewing the race films of the concluding stages of the race the Adjudicative Committee assessed the breach as mid-range. However, as explained to Mr Butt, this could have been considered in the higher range given the presence of two non-compliant styles, the nature of the strikes and the distance for which it continued. The initial seven strikes were in clear breach of the Rule being free of the rein but for the involvement of another Driver Mr Butt may have continued in using strikes free of the rein.
A medium-level breach is defined as when a driver inadvertently reverts to the old style (freehand, loose reining and/or more than a flicking motion) and continues to drive in this manner for some distance (50 metres) before taking corrective steps to return to a compliant style of driving.
The start point for a medium-level breach is either a fine ($500) or period of suspension (2 meetings).
By way of aggravating factors Mr Butt won the race and as mentioned above he only adjusted his action due to another Driver yelling at him. Furthermore, following the strikes free of the rein Mr Butt then used more than a wrist flicking motion for a period of time. Balanced against this are Mr Butt’s clear record and his frank admission.
In terms of penalty the Respondent submitted a suspension should be imposed as he is retiring.
A suspension in this case would be meaningless given that Mr Butt is retiring. Therefore to impose a suspension, for the reasons sought by Mr Butt, in this case would be contrary to the purposes and principles which govern penalties in this context.
The breach must be met with a proportionate response which accurately reflects the breach.
Having considered all factors, the Adjudicative Committee deemed a fine of $500 to be an appropriate penalty.
The Respondent is fined $500.
Decision Date: 28/12/2021
Publish Date: 28/12/2021