Four charged over race fixing allegations
Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) and Shepparton detectives charged four prominent local harness racing identities last week in relation to alleged harness race fixing in northern Victoria.
Investigators interviewed two men and two women in August last year following alleged race fixing that occurred in Cobram on June 22, 2015.
Lisa Bartley and Mark Pitt from Avenel and Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull, who have stables in Lemnos and NSW, have been charged with engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome and other related offences.
They have all been summonsed to appear at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on February 20.
The group was questioned after an investigation of the tactics adopted during the betting on and running of a race that was won by Airbournemagic.
Airbournemagic, driven by Pitt, was heavily supported from $11 into $4.50 TAB Fixed Odds with punters collecting about $30 000 on the surprise winner. Nathan Jack drove the horse that ran third. Harness Racing Victoria issued a statement last week saying stewards would now decide whether to ban those charged from competing in future races and/or cancel their licences. Pitt, Bartley, Turnbull and Jack have until this Thursday at 5 pm to make submissions to HRV.
But HRV in its statement also cautioned that its stewards were mindful of the decision of the HRV RAD Board Chairman on September 14, 2016, after HRV stewards initially suspended the licences of participants after they had been arrested by Victoria Police on August 28, 2016.
In this decision the RAD Board chairman remarked when reinstating the licences of the individuals:
‘‘No person is yet charged. Even charges of themselves carry little weight as it is the evidence underlying those charges which becomes relevant. They (stewards) invoke quite rightly, the need to maintain and protect the industry and the need to preserve public confidence in the industry. That however must be balanced against the damage to livelihood and reputation of the applicants.’’
Any person wishing to report sport corruption within the racing industry or other sports is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
On track: Avenel driver Mark Pitt in action.