A decision on whether disqualified trainer Darren Weir will be committed to stand trial on animal cruelty and conspiracy charges has been adjourned until October 19 after Magistrate Ron Saines was “deluged” with case law on Thursday.
Weir and his former stable employees Jarrod McLean and Tyson Kermond face a string of indictable charges stemming from police surveillance of stables during the 2018 spring carnival when the trio is accused of torturing horses in an “illicit training regime.”
The three men, who face more than 30 charges combined, are also accused of conspiring to defraud Racing Victoria stewards.
Former jockey William Hernan faces a single betting charge, which his lawyers on Thursday argued should be discharged.
Weir also faces weapons-related charges.
Weir’s lawyer Ian Hill, QC, told the Ballarat Magistrates Court via videolink a breach of the Australian rules of racing was not a criminal breach.
He also argued Racing Victoria stewards were not public officials.
“If the stewards aren’t public officials, that’s the end of it (Victoria Police case),” Hill said.
“If the agreement (to allegedly conspire) is not actually a conspiracy agreement, that’s the end of that as well.”
The claims were countered by Victoria Police.
Magistrates Saines must rule whether there is sufficient evidence to approve the Crown’s application for committal orders.
But he said the “deluge” of submissions on Thursday morning meant he didn’t “consider I could do justice to all parties” if he attempted to make a decision today.
Melissa Mahady, for Victoria Police, conceded there had been an “oversight” with two betting charges against McLean.
Victoria Police claim horses Yogi, Red Cardinal and Tosen Basil were tortured at Warrnambool by Weir, McLean and Kermond.
The Crown case relies on covert police footage taken from three cameras at stables in Warrnambool and Ballarat from October 24 until mid-November, 2018
The footage, which remains unseen by media, allegedly shows Melbourne Cup runner Red Cardinal, Yogi and Tosen Basil being jabbed with an electronic device known as a jigger as they exercised on a treadmill.
Evidence presented revealed police first started investigating Weir in 2017 – two years before his arrest in Ballarat last year.
Weir, now serving a four-year disqualification for possession of electronic devices capable of shocking horses, became aware covert cameras had been planted in his stables in late 2018.
Police said jockeys involved in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, in which Red Cardinal finished 23rd of 24 runners, “were not forthcoming” in terms of cooperation.
Police revealed telephone intercepts of conversations between Weir, McLean and others led to police believing a conspiracy was allegedly taking place in October, 2018.
During interviews, Weir told police “I train because I love horses” and rejected accusations he was driven by gambling.
“I do not train for the punt,” Weir said.
Police allege Weir, Kermond and McLean were involved in a regime to illegally condition horses on treadmills using jiggers, polypipe, blinkers and whistling.
Police said McLean and Kermond had not used a handheld two-pronged device known as a “hot-shot prodder” but were present, with Weir, when the device was allegedly captured on video.
Originally published asWeir trial decision adjourned
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