ACTOR Vinnie Jones and two other members of a greyhound-owning syndicate were not afforded proper procedures to defend themselves against a charge that their winning dog failed a drug test, the High Court heard yesterday.
The claim came at the start of a judicial review application against the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) by the syndicate that owned the greyhound, Boavista, which was at the centre of drug test allegations in 2006.
The dog was named Coursing Greyhound of the Year just weeks before news broke of an alleged positive drug test following his win in the 2006 Irish Cup.
The syndicate comprises former footballer Vinnie Jones, leading greyhound trainer Pat Curtin and bookie Denis Gould. Mr Curtin’s sister, Bridget, the handler of Boavista, is also one of the applicants in the High Court proceedings.
Vinnie Jones was a regular visitor to Ireland during Boavista’s career and was present at the national meeting in Clonmel in 2006 when the syndicate won the Champion Stakes.
The case centres on a decision by the ICC to hold an inquiry into the alleged finding of the controlled drug, amphetamine, in Boavista when he won the JP McManus Irish Cup at Limerick racetrack on February 26, 2006. As a result of a drug test, the €80,000 purse from the race was frozen although all winning bets were paid out.
The syndicate and Ms Curtin claim the ICC did not provide full disclosure of the allegations against them after it had found the dog had tested positive and decided to hold an inquiry.
They are seeking an order from the High Court restraining the inquiry from taking place in the manner as originally proposed. They claim the inquiry, as constituted, was in breach of natural justice as well as in breach of the ICC’s rules.
The ICC denies the syndicate has not been afforded fair procedures. The syndicate was furnished with all documentation, including the names of the stewards who witnessed the taking and certifying of the sample and the name of the veterinary surgeon who took the sample.
The ICC also says Bridget Curtin, handler of the dog and one of the applicants in the case, was present during the test and was given the opportunity to have a split sample but she waived that right.
The hearing continues before Mr Justice Daniel Herbert.
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