RACING and Wagering Western Australia stewards have concluded an inquiry into an allegation that prior to Race 3 at Gloucester Park on 24 January 2020, trainer-driver Clinton Hall made an improper statement/s to horseman Craig Saligari, who had a runner engaged in the race, with regard to the tactics and handling of that runner.
As a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, the inquiry was conducted via teleconference.
At a hearing conducted on 21 April 2020, Hall had pleaded guilty to the following two charges under Harness racing Rule 238 and 187 (2), which state;
- Failure to comply with orders – A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the stewards relating to harness racing or to the harness racing industry.
The particulars of the charge being that on 31 January 2020, Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, failed to comply with the direction of steward, Mr Borovica, the RWWA General Manager of Racing Integrity, by not surrendering his mobile telephone, as directed in writing in a letter from Mr Borovica dated 28 January 2020.
187.2 Offences – inquiries (2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation.
The particulars of the charge being that during the course of an inquiry conducted on 4 March 2020, Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, refused to answer questions in relation to the subject matter of the inquiry.
At the same hearing, Hall had pleaded not guilty to a charge under harness Racing Rule 227;
- Offering money or other inducements – A person shall not give or offer any money or other inducement improperly to anyone employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry.
The particulars of the charge being that on 23 January 2020, M Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, during a telephone call, did improperly offer licensed trainer Saligari $2000 as an inducement to hand up the lead on CROCODILE KID engaged in Race 3 at Gloucester Park on 24 January 2020.
After hearing submissions in respect to a defence to the above charge from Hall, stewards adjourned and after deliberation concluded that he had breached Rule 227.
The inquiry resumed on 12 May 2020 in order to hear submissions on the question of penalty to all three charges where further evidence was advanced by Hall. RWWA stewards have now completed their deliberations and the following penalties have been imposed:
- Charge 1 – Harness racing Rule 238 – Failure to comply – penalty – 2 years disqualification.
- Charge 2 – Harness racing Rule 187 (2) – Failing to answer questions – penalty – 1 year disqualification
- Charge 3 – Harness racing Rule 224 – Inducement – penalty – 5 years disqualification.
Having regard to the principle of totality and whether or not the periods of disqualification imposed should be partially or wholly concurrent in accordance with Rule 257, stewards determined that all three penalties of disqualification, in the circumstances, should be served cumulatively.
In addition, stewards have also directed that the total disqualification of eight years will be backdated to when Hall was first stood down on 31 January 2020.
Therefore the total of eight years disqualification will expire at midnight on 30 January 2028.
In considering penalty, Stewards were mindful of the following:
- The seriousness of each individual offence.
- The circumstances surrounding the commission of all offences.
- Hall’s guilty pleas to two charges.
- The strong need for both specific and general deterrence to deter similar conduct.
- The potential damage to the Harness Industry of WA due to Hall’s deliberate actions.
- Hall’s personal circumstances at the time.
- Previous similar penalties issued Australia wide.
In relation to the same inquiry and as previously advised that once Hall’s inquiry was concluded,
Saligari would be required to appear before the Stewards in order to continue with his involvement.
A notice in connection with this matter will be issued in the near future.
- RWWA Media