Pat Cosgrave: was found to have been "denied natural justice"
PJA raises concerns over ERA rules and processes
THE Professional Jockeys Association has called for the Emirates Racing Authority to withdraw costs amounting close to £35,000 ordered against jockey Pat Cosgrave after a BHA disciplinary panel published the reasons why it decided not to reciprocate the four-month suspension issued by the ERA appeal panel for Cosgrave's ride on Anaerobio in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan on March 8.
Cosgrave, 32, was handed a six-month ban by the ERA - subsequently cut to four months - in March for improper riding. The jockey was adjudged by the ERA to have shifted his mount Anaerobio to allow stablemate Vercingetorix a clear run to victory at Meydan.
However, the BHA disciplinary panel ruled in June not to reciprocate the ban and on Monday revealed their findings that Cosgrave's ban was imposed in contravention of "the laws of natural justice".
"It is perverse and unjust that Mr Cosgrave should bear any costs given that he was successful in having his suspension reduced and it has been found that he was denied natural justice," blasted PJA chief executive Paul Struthers.
He added: "We are not aware of any other jurisdiction that awards such punitive and unreasonable costs for failed, let alone successful, first stage appeals when those appeals have merit.
"The ERA's approach to appeal panel costs goes against the principles of fairness and reasonableness, and appears to be against common UAE legal practice. We have therefore written to the ERA requesting that they withdraw the costs order against Mr Cosgrave."
The BHA disciplinary panel concluded that Cosgrave was denied the chance to present new evidence at his Dubai appeal having been told it was a review and not a rehearing.
In their official reasoning the disciplinary panel stated: "It seems the appeal panel had decided to remove all restrictions on calling evidence before it. But that was not notified or explained before or at the hearing to Cosgrave.
"If it had been, the panel has no doubt that he would have called Mike de Kock (the trainer of Anaerobio) and perhaps also [Christophe] Soumillon (the rider of the winner, also trained by Mr de Kock but in separate ownership) to give their evidence live before the appeal panel. It is impossible to say just what evidence they would have given, and with what effect upon the thinking of the appeal panel."
Paul Struthers: concerned by the ERA's rules and processesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Struthers said he welcomed the finding of the BHA's disciplinary panel that Cosgrave was "denied natural justice" at his appeal in Dubai but raised concerns that rules and processes of the Emirates Racing Authority, or at least the current interpretation of them, "goes deeper than the issue raised by the BHA disciplinary panel".
He added: "The cause of the denial of natural justice was the discrepancy between the appeal board ruling on the day of the appeal that it was by way of review but then concluding in their reasons that they had ruled it was exceptional circumstances and was a rehearing.
"Yet despite these serious errors the ERA are now trying to collect close to £35,000 for the costs of the appeal panel. The threat of punitive and unreasonable costs means that, in reality, there is no route of appeal whatsoever for jockeys racing under the ERA's jurisdiction."