On 17 August 2021, the Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) considered a charge issued by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards against licensed trainer-driver Michael Bellman under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 231(1)(f).

AHRR 231(1)(f) reads as follows:

231(1) A person shall not:-

(f) otherwise interfere improperly with

anyone employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry or otherwise having a connection with it.

The charge related to Mr Bellman’s conduct at the Geelong harness racing meeting on 9 October 2020 where he approached a female driver from behind, flicked his whip between her thighs and said “where’s your face mask”.

Mr Bellman pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from Adrian Anderson on behalf of the HRV Stewards and Damien Hannan on behalf of Mr Bellman.


The VRT imposed a penalty of 3 months suspension.

Please note that Michael Bellman has applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of this decision.


VRT Panel: Judge Graeme Hicks (Deputy Chairperson) and Des Gleeson


The written decision of the VRT can be found here.