Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Racing Post Report by Bruce Jackson - posted 4:06pm 17th May 2008
Commander Patrick Rice's internal review of his force's investigation into possible corruption in horseracing found "no evidence to suggest any improper conduct or deceit by any of the officers".

However, Ian Burton, senior partner in BCL Burton Copeland solicitors, highlighted the review's assertion that the attorney general had not been formally requested to review the case. That was one of the review's summary conclusions, referring to defence counsel contending that police officers had acted improperly and that counsel had told the media that it would request that the attorney general review the case.

Burton said on Friday: "Our report was sent to the attorney general's office on January 31 and is being considered fully. That fact is fairly indicative of this review, which is inaccurate and ill-researched.

"The problem of the report is that it is a self-serving document. It only involves police officers, who didn't find any fault in what they had done, unsurprisingly."

The report also picked up on the trial cost having been put at £950,000 in answer to a parliamentary question.

Burton added: "The cost to Mr Fallon alone runs into several million pounds."

The review still leaves nobody held to blame for the collapse of the costly and damaging trial at the Old Bailey, in which six-time champion Fallon, fellow jockeys Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, owner and gambler Miles Rodgers, Philip Sherkle and Shaun Lynch were cleared of all charges.

At the end of the prosecution, six weeks into the high-profile case, trial judge Mr Justice Forbes found there was no case to answer, as put forward by defence counsel.

Dame Elizabeth Neville's independent review of the BHA's security department, published on Wednesday, cleared it of any blame for the failure of the prosecution.
Rice, who joined the City of London police in 2006, said his force would not be put off investigating another horseracing case if it involved possible deception of the public.

"The recommendation would be ‘let's go for it', and that can only be to the benefit of horseracing," he said on Friday.

Rejecting suggestions that investigating officers did not have enough knowledge of horseracing and betting, he said he felt it was right the police had pursued the case in the public cause as racing "is a tradition in the country and brings a huge amount of money into the economy, and includes the royal family as owners and spectators".

The review identified a number of procedural and control issues, including the way initially the Jockey Club and then its successor the BHB were handled through the investigation.

The review confirmed racing's regulatory authority had been treated as the complainant and therefore had been "kept at arm's length" to prevent any claims of bias in the prosecution case.

"I think there was an opportunity in 2004 , and in the future, to codify a working relationship by way of a memorandum of understanding," Rice added.

"I suggested to the Dame Elizabeth Neville inquiry that there is a need for a closer working relationship."

Paul Struthers, spokesman for the BHA, said: "We have no specific comment on the police review – there is nothing to say that hasn't already been said.

"Dame Elizabeth Neville recommended we deal with our own constituents wherever possible, apart from very extreme circumstances where our first port of call would be the gambling commission."


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