VCAT rejects Riley's bid for trainer's licence

POSTED ON  |  10-03-2020

Mark Riley
Mark Riley’s career appears to be over after the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected his appeal against Racing Victoria’s decision to refuse him a trainer’s licence. Riley served a three-year disqualification for administering a banned substance to a horse that ended in October last year but RV rejected his application to return to training.

RV told Riley he was not a “fit and proper person” to hold a trainer’s licence. RV rejected Riley’s application because of his disciplinary history in his 38 years in racing and his history of lying to stewards and during other proceedings.

VCAT Senior Member Dea sided with Racing Victoria in his decision on the appeal, which was handed down last week. “I have made the decision paying particular regard not just to the number and nature of past disciplinary matters, but to the findings made about Mr Riley’s failure to act honestly when dealing with Stewards and, at times, with relevant disciplinary tribunals,” Dea’s judgement read.

“Although Mr Riley has addressed significant challenges in his life and has the support of reputable members of the racing community, he has shown no sign of accepting or dealing with those past findings which go to the heart of suitability. “I have concluded that, where the racing industry depends for its existence on the community having confidence that its participants will act with integrity and honestly in observing the applicable rules, Mr Riley has not demonstrated he is so suitable.”

Dea pointed to then Racing Appeals Tribunal’s assessment of Riley as being an “unreliable and unsatisfactory” witness during a case involving the trainer’s alleged possession of an electrical device in 2000. Riley served a two-year disqualification for that offence.

The Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board labelled Riley’s evidence as being “characterised by ambivalence, equivocation, obfuscation and prevarication” during his 2015 case. Australian Trainers’ Association chief executive Andrew Nicholl provided one of three character references for Riley. However Senior Member Dea gave Nicholl’s reference “limited weight”, finding he had not read the reasons for Riley’s previous disqualifications. “The factor that weighs most against the positive matters mentioned above is Mr Riley’s history of dishonesty in his dealings with Stewards and various disciplinary tribunals,” Dea wrote.

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