By Nick Bielby
A Newcastle solicitor is spearheading legal representation for members of the NSW horse racing industry after a ruling that Stewards had been penalising some people without proper authority for as much as a decade.
Paul O’Sullivan, of Bale Boshev Lawyers in Hamilton, said the Racing Appeals Tribunal ruled last month that Stewards had not been empowered to determine whether there had been a breach of AR175 – a rule that prescribes 30 offences under the Rules of Racing.
It came after licensee – and one of Mr O’Sullivan’s clients – Carl Poidevin challenged the Stewards’ authority to hand out punishments under AR175.
The tribunal found Stewards were “not empowered to hear and determine the breach of AR175 brought against” Mr Poidevin.
Mr O’Sullivan specialises in racing law and has clients across Australia – he has also conducted matters in New Zealand.
“The tribunal found that the power had not been properly delegated to Stewards in accordance with the rules,” he said.
“Historically, Stewards have charged and penalised licensed persons under the rule. For example, leading Newcastle trainer Darren Smith was disqualified for 15 years for breaches including AR175. In recent times, another leading trainer Ben Smith has been charged under the same rule.”
Mr O’Sullivan is pursuing the matter and has tried to make contact with Chief Steward Marc Van Gestel multiple times to find out his position on the issue.
“Some persons have already served terms of disqualification or suspension,” Mr O’Sullivan said. “Those persons may wish to consider redress.”