On 6 August 2021, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) handed down its decision following a hearing on 22 June 2021 that considered an application lodged by licensed trainer Joe Bajada, against a decision of the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) to impose a three-year disqualification and fines of $6350.
At the VRT hearing on 7 September 2020, Mr Bajada pleaded not guilty to 8 charges issued under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) which relate to an attempt to stomach tube the horse ‘Upanatom’ on 20 June 2020 when it was engaged to race at Tabcorp Park Melton that evening, frustrating the subsequent investigation, providing false and misleading evidence, administering alkalinising agents within one clear day of a race and failing to maintain a log book. The details of the VRT hearing can be found here.
On 22 June 2021, VCAT Senior Member Dea considered an application lodged by Mr Bajada against the penalties imposed by the VRT. In the decision handed down on 6 August 2021, the periods of disqualification and fines imposed under Charges 3 and 8 were affirmed, while the fines under Charges 4 to 7 were varied.
Charge 1: AHRR 193(1) – 2 years disqualification
Charge 2: AHRR 187(6) – 1 year disqualification, cumulative to the disqualification on Charge 1
Charge 3: AHRR 187(2) – $100 fine
Charge 4: AHRR 187(2) – $700 fine ($500 suspended)
Charge 5: AHRR 187(2) – $700 fine ($500 suspended)
Charge 6: AHRR 196C – $2,000 fine ($1750 suspended)
Charge 7: AHRR 196C – $2,000 fine ($1750 suspended)
Charge 8: AHRR 190B – $350 fine
The total penalty being three years disqualification and finals totalling $5850, of which $1350 is payable immediately with the balance of $4500 suspended for two years from the day Mr Bajada is relicensed.
The full VCAT decision can be viewed here.