MEMBERS of the ‘Cobram Crew’ are facing their D-day this afternoon.
After having their appeal against suspension dismissed by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board last week, Lisa Bartley, Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt have taken their case to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Just to recap, the Bartley, Jack and Pitt were stood down by Harness Racing Victoria stewards on September 7 following their appearance in the Wodonga Magistrates Court.
Arrested during Breeders’ Crown Day at Melton in August 2016, the trio – which became to be known as the Cobram Crew – pleaded not guilty to all charges relating to a race at Cobram on June 22, 2015.
After a lengthy process, the Magistrate found them guilty, with Jack and Pitt receiving convictions for their roles in the ordeal, including $20,000 and $15,000 fines.
Bartley was not convicted, but was fined $5000.
As such, stipes suspended their licences, ability to race horses they own and attend any racecourses.
Bartley, Jack and Pitt took their case to the RAD Board, which found the stewards can suspend their licences under Australian Harness Racing Rules 183(c), 183(d) and 15(d) after they were found guilty of charges under Section 195C of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).
VCAT shapes as the trio’s final hope of avoiding suspension as their legal case heads to the Country Court in 2020.
Should VCAT rule against them, all licenses held by Bartley, Jack and Pitt will suspended as of midnight, meaning any horses owned or trained by them are prevented from racing or trialling.
They will also be excluded from attending any racecourse.
Stewards are likely to make any formal charges against the trio until all their legal avenues have been finalised.