BHA – nandrolone case

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by thejudge1 thejudge1 10 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #1332863
    Matron
    Matron
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    #1333104

    Marginal Value
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    I think the BHA will continue to fight, and therefore ban the unfortunate Hughie. They will probably go through the same appeals route which demonstrated, as in the Philip Hobbs case which they lost, that the relevant BHA rule is against natural justice and counter to the legal system of justice in the UK that says a man is innocent until his guilt can be proved; and not, as the BHA would like, guilty until he can prove his innocence. The BHA rule is a charter for anyone with a grievance to ruin a trainer’s career, a disgruntled employee or owner, a rival trainer, a thwarted blackmailer, the antagonist in a personal vendetta, or a plain and simple nut-case. It also assumes that there is no such thing as an accident of circumstances. As has been already demonstrated, this rule will not achieve what the BHA is seeking. It should never have been introduced. A little critical thinking and a dash of logic would have revealed that the BHA could never garner to itself the type of powers Rodrigo Duterte has acquired in the Philippines – thank goodness!

    #1333127

    Harrison19961
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    The revelation fit for a Dick Francis novel emerged on the first day of a hearing that potentially could see Morrison, who has trained winners at Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival, banned for up to 10 years after the positive test for anabolic steroid nandrolone.

    #1333147
    Running Rein
    Running Rein
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    I think the BHA will continue to fight, and therefore ban the unfortunate Hughie. They will probably go through the same appeals route which demonstrated, as in the Philip Hobbs case which they lost, that the relevant BHA rule is against natural justice and counter to the legal system of justice in the UK that says a man is innocent until his guilt can be proved; and not, as the BHA would like, guilty until he can prove his innocence. The BHA rule is a charter for anyone with a grievance to ruin a trainer’s career, a disgruntled employee or owner, a rival trainer, a thwarted blackmailer, the antagonist in a personal vendetta, or a plain and simple nut-case. It also assumes that there is no such thing as an accident of circumstances. As has been already demonstrated, this rule will not achieve what the BHA is seeking. It should never have been introduced. A little critical thinking and a dash of logic would have revealed that the BHA could never garner to itself the type of powers Rodrigo Duterte has acquired in the Philippines – thank goodness!

    I am confused here…there is evidence of wrongdoing. One of the horses in the care of Mr Morrison, and for which he is licensed, was found to have been given a steroid (Nandrolone) after a random drug test. It was positive and this is not disputed.
    It is the theory that this was perpetrated by an unknown, malicious 3rd party which has no evidence to date or has no standing outside of a scenario put forward by Mr Morrison.

    The BHA is not charged with proving or disproving Mr Morrison’s theories.
    If the 3rd party intervention is part of Hughie Morrison’s defence of the charge, let him prove that is what occurred. Maybe something will emerge on Day 2 of the hearing but from some perspectives this case seems to being viewed upside down.

    On the wider point (raised by the Philip Hobbs case) of what the tolerance and levels of proof required are…if it is thought that current BHA policy is a ‘charter for those with a grievance’ then the flip side is a charter for widespread misuse of drug application by licensed personnel for which there are a number of cases on record in the last 10 years.

    #1333149

    nwalton
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    will the ‘mysterious’ third party nobbler give the defence a way out?

    #1333436

    Marginal Value
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    A timely story from the Guardian today.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/21/stalls-handler-used-syringe-wolverhampton-arena-racing-company-bha

    A stalls handler taking a syringe with him prior to loading horses at Wolverhampton. I especially liked the comment by a BHA spokesman: “The BHA is not aware of this incident and therefore cannot comment on the specific details. More generally, when horses are down at the start of a race they are overseen by the starter and his assistant, who would be in a position to prevent or report any activity which is contrary to the rules of racing or a horse’s welfare.” Obviously the BHA staff at the start were not in a position to prevent anything since they saw and reported nothing at the time. The other stalls handlers knew, and so did his employer, ARC. But they kept very quiet about it. ARC said: “The safety and welfare of any horse, jockey or other person was not compromised”. This is probably untrue because they do not know if this stalls handler, or any other, had previously brought a filled syringe with attached neeedle to work before, because their systems were not set up to detect that.

    Perhaps the BHA should hold themselves to the same standard as they hold all trainers, which might make them realise how ridiculous their “absolute responsibilty” rule is. Trainers are expected to be responsible for what happens to perhaps 100 horses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, wherever in the world each horse happens to be, and yet the BHA cannot manage to be responsible for a dozen people in a fixed location, at fixed 10 minute intervals in a 4 hour time-frame. Well, perhaps more than a dozen, because there are many other racecourse staff who have the opportunity to do naughty things, like the people who clean and fill the water buckets used to give horse a drink after a race.

    #1333448
    steeplechasing
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    £1,000 fine.

    No ban.

    Special offer at Morrison’s this Christmas

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1333466

    Marginal Value
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    I am very pleased that a Disciplinary Panel has decided to use judgement and common sense, and that this time the BHA will not bother to appeal the decision. Jamie Stier has put a warming gloss on the result today. It is interesting that the Panel decided to issue a £1,000 fine, which is an option not available to them under BHA penalties (G)2.1c which applies in the case of anabolic steroids where the Entry Point penalty is a two year disqualification. I am sure that Jamie Stier will turn a blind eye, and that Hughie Morrison will not appeal against his fine.

    #1333468

    wit
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    Jamie Stier must be thankful that Hughie Morrison is a pussycat compared to Ivan Allan, trainer of Cheers Hong Kong, who famously went ballistic against Stier and others when prosecuted by the HKJC in 2003 for using contaminated horse shampoo that was prescribed and supplied to him by the HKJC veterinary department:

    https://www.racingandsports.com.au/en/racing/ivan-allans-conduct-referred-to-hkjc-story-22376

    After finally HKJC saw sense and withdrew the charge (due in no small part to the man who subsequently became its current Chief Exec insisting that the HKJC track down the source of contamination), they went on instead to fine Allan HKD 100,000 (then about GBP 8,000) for his comments. He appealed that fine, to no avail:

    http://www.hkjc.com/english/corporate/racing_news_item.asp?in_file=/english/news/news_200308215288.htm

    #1333482
    steeplechasing
    steeplechasing
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    wit, what’s your take on this ‘strict liability’ policy? Are the BHA going to have to change it?

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1333509

    wit
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    Joe,

    The issue of strict liability as the long-established cornerstone of anti-doping has been gone into in much greater detail regarding human athletes than equine, with all the arguments well-rehearsed regarding “fairness-for-me” vs. “fairness-for-all-the-others”.

    See the Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency:

    http://www.wada-ama.org/en/

    Typically it beaks down into two aspects:

    1. Disqualification from competitions in the past: here very few try to argue that “I wasn’t at fault” should allow them to keep their placing;

    and

    2. Suspension from competitions in the future: here “I wasn’t at fault” typically is used to mitigate sanctions or remove them altogether on the basis that there is no reason to regard the individual as a threat to the integrity of the sport.

    I have not followed the Morrison case (nor the Hobbs case) in detail, but as I understand neither challenged the principle of strict liability, just the sanction that should flow from it in terms of suspension given their respective particular facts.

    On that basis (accepting that the horse has to be treated as the extension of the trainer), the BHA would seem in line with WADA rules and practices, so what is it that they would be expected to change ?

    Also, from a legal standpoint there is another analysis of these situations that runs parallel to, but does not depend on, the notion of “strict liability”.

    This is the principle of breach of contract, the contract being the relationship each licensed person freely enters into with the BHA eg to uphold the Rules of Racing. In fact the BHA relationship is mainly contractual with its licensed persons, and it is the tort-based concept of “strict liability” (implicitly arguing that motivations are relevant) which seems out-of-place in the discussion.

    Breach of contract is an objective test, not involving motives or fault: the question is whether or not eg the debt was repaid on time, not why it was or was not repaid.

    The desiderata in the case of a breach of contract is to put the party suffering the breach (BHA/ Racing) in the position it would have been in if the contract had been performed. Quite how you achieve that in the case of loss of confidence in the racing product can be debated.

    The desiderata in the case of the apparently-introduced-“strict liability”-perspective – which relates to non-contract – ie tort – situations where such things as intent, recklessness, negligence, etc do go to whether a wrong exists in the first place – is to put the wronged party (BHA/ Racing) in the position it would have been in had the wrong not been done. Again, quite how you achieve that in the case of loss of confidence in the racing product can be debated.

    The answer may not always be the same under the two analyses.

    HTH.

    #1333522
    steeplechasing
    steeplechasing
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    Many thanks, wit.

    On the face of it, I can’t see how they can continue with the status quo if today is accepted as precedent as far as penalties are concerned. Essentially it seems to me that Morrison said ‘it wasn’t me, guv’, and the BHA could produce nothing to say that it was, even though there was no argument about the offence being committed nor any doubt about who according to the rules – was responsible.

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1333541

    wit
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    Joe, then it will be interesting to see the detailed reasoning of the Panel once released.

    The anti-doping rules of the International Amateur Athletic Federation for example specifically carve out situations which will not be considered exceptional situations:

    – an allegation that the prohibited substance or prohibited method was given to an athlete by
    another person without his knowledge, [ie the scenario you outline]

    – an allegation that the prohibited substance was taken by mistake,

    – an allegation that the prohibited substance was due to the taking of contaminated food supplements

    – an allegation that medication was prescribed by athlete support personnel in ignorance of the fact that it contained a prohibited substance.

    The IAAF seems basically to consider that circumstances only rise to the level of “no fault or liability” where the athlete involved can offer evidence of being intentionally doped by one of his/her competitors:

    “[E]xceptional circumstances may exist where an athlete has provided
    substantial evidence or assistance to the IAAF, his National Federation or other
    relevant body which has resulted in the IAAF, his National Federation or other
    relevant body discovering or establishing an anti-doping rule violation by another
    person involving possession trafficking or administration to an athlete.”

    ====

    Under this model, once the presence of the substance was shown, the burden of proving / explaining everything else would have shifted to Mr Morrison – the BHA would have had nothing else to prove or explain.

    #1333706
    thejudge1
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    It’s quite depressing the amount of drugs in sports these days. Just the other day a very suspicious athlete was named sports personality of the year.

    Surely honesty and fairness should still be virtues to strive for? Personally I find drug cheats disgusting. I have no idea if Hughie Morrison or Philip Hobbs are whiter than white or not, but what it seems to me that in these cases they are more likely to get away with it than not, and that in itself is disturbing.

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