Race-fixing cases thrown out of court
RACE-fixing cases against harness participants Dayl March and Leonard Cain were dismissed in Brisbane Magistrates' Court this week, leaving the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and the Racing Crime Squad red-faced.
Both decisions cited a lack of evidence as the reason for the dismissals.
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The cases of March and Cain were the first match-fixing charges to be contested in court relating to QRIC's harness racing investigations, which were conducted by the Racing Crime Squad.
Last October, Barton Cockburn pleaded guilty to three charges of match fixing, pertaining to races in November 2016 and was fined $5000. Soon after, Michael Grant also pleaded guilty to different charges relating to the same inquiry.
At the time, Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said Cockburn's conviction "should put an end to industry speculation about whether the Commission would be able to gather sufficient evidence to obtain convictions".
"I hope the fact that two of the three people we've charged so far have now pleaded guilty will be a reflection of the evidence that was gathered in these matters," Barnett said at the time.
However, Cain and March chose to defend the charges and their cases were thrown out of court on Wednesday and Thursday.
It is understood in the case of trainer-driver March, the Magistrate indicated there was insufficient evidence to proceed and the charges were subsequently withdrawn.
In the case of Cain, a harness driver, it is understood the prosecution asked for more time to produce witnesses, but the submission was rejected and the case dismissed.
Both QRIC and the Queensland Police Service declined to comment on the March and Cain dismissals on Friday.
March has been sidelined and unable to compete since having his license suspended in April last year. Initially he did not seek a stay of proceedings because he had hoped the matter would be resolved quickly. Later, when it became apparent the case would drag on, he was denied the stay.