Day At The Track

Harness racing driver walks free

04:27 PM 14 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Amanda Turnbull, Harness Racing
Amanda Turnbull

All the charges relating to Amanda Turnbull’s alleged involvement in a Cobram race fixing scandal were dismissed in court yesterday, after prosecution and defence lawyers came to an agreement.

Within the first few minutes of yesterday’s proceedings in the contested hearing, which is in its third week at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Gary Hevey asked Magistrate John Murphy to dismiss the charges against Ms Turnbull.

‘‘In relation to Ms Turnbull, the crown is not going to present further evidence,’’ he said.

‘‘I invite your honour to dismiss the charges against her.’’

Mr Murphy agreed, dismissing the charges against Ms Turnbull due to a lack of evidence.

With that, Ms Turnbull and her family and friends stood up and left the court room in silence.

Lisa Bartley’s defence lawyer Rohan Laurence then submitted to the court his client had no case to answer — as there was a ‘‘hole’’ in the prosecution case.

He said this was on the grounds that Ms Bartley’s conduct did not directly affect the outcome of the race as she was not a driver of Airbournemagic, Tooram Lad, or any other horse in the race in question.

‘‘None of Ms Bartley’s conduct occurs in the race,’’ Mr Laurence told the court.

‘‘But instead occurs in a period of one month before the race. (Her) conduct does not relate to the event or the running of the event, her conduct had no bearing on the result of the race.

‘‘Significantly, it is not alleged (by the prosecution) that it did.’’

Mr Hevey argued that if betting agencies knew Airbournemagic was being trained at well-known harness racing driver Nathan Jack’s place, as Ms Bartley knew, the odds would have been different.

‘‘(There was) no other purpose than to keep the odds long, it continued during the race when Mr Bartley’s (David Bartley, Lisa Bartley’s father) colours were used,’’ Mr Hevey said.

Mr Jack’s defence lawyer, Anthony Lewis, adopted the submissions made by Mr Laurence in relation to his client’s charges.

‘‘There is no evidence to support the allegation (that) ... conduct would inflate betting odds of Airbournemagic,’’ he said.

Mr Lewis then claimed Mr Jack was a less successful trainer than David Bartley.

‘‘There is now evidence that, had the regulated betting agencies known Mr Jack was the trainer, that would not have made any difference ... to the odds.’’

Yesterday, Mr Murphy made a ruling to include admissions made in Victoria Police interviews, after defence lawyers submitted they be dismissed.

The hearing continues.


Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley have pleaded not guilty to charges of engaging in, facilitating and possessing knowledge and/or information about conduct that corrupts a betting outcome.

The charges relate to an allegedly fixed race at Cobram on June 22, 2015, after which an investigation was launched into the tactics adopted during the event and information provided to Harness Racing Victoria on the stabling arrangements of a horse.

Of the four accused, only Mr Jack and Mr Pitt took part in the race.

Prosecutors allege Mr Jack, driving Tooram Lad, allowed Airbournemagic, driven by Mr Pitt, to win the race.

The court has heard from representatives who have spoken about betting patterns before the race, while the father of Ms Bartley was excused from giving evidence against his daughter.

Earlier in the hearing, Harness Racing Victoria evidence was thrown out and not used during the hearing as it was found to be involuntarily obtained.

The hearing started on Monday, November 27, in front of Magistrate John Murphy and entered its third week on Monday.

Yesterday, charges against Ms Turnbull were dismissed.

by Hayden Thomson

Reprinted with permission of The Sheppaton News

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