Repercussions from Australia's cobalt scandal rumble on
Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna has been accused of acting as “judge, jury and prosecutor” in his handling of an inquiry into an alleged leak by former Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie during the cobalt scandal.
Moodie resigned from his role in December after Perna’s report concluded the leading owner had acting inappropriately in disclosing to former trainer, and friend, Peter Moody that two other trainers were under investigation into cobalt positives, potentially undermining the case against them.
However, Moodie lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court claiming former policeman Perna has “pre-set conclusions” about the investigation and had failed to act fairly.
Moodie admits telling Black Caviar’s trainer Peter Moody about rumours two other trainers were under investigation, but his barrister Simon Wilson QC said Perna exceeded his powers in making the findings, as he received a referral into the leak rather than a complaint.
"[He] has gone on an absolute frolic of his own in terms of enlarging it, no doubt perhaps to justify his position or show how important he is," Wilson told the court. "He became judge and jury himself – prosecutor, judge and jury.
"His [Moodie’s] family's upset. He's upset. It's had a devastating effect on him personally."
A string of positive cobalt tests rocked Australian racing in 2015, with the likes of leading trainer Moody, Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien all receiving bans. The latter two had their bans overturned on appeal, while Moody quit as a trainer to act as a racing manager and consultant instead.
Cobalt, a banned substance in racing, can help increase endurance and reduce recovery time when given to horses.
Perna's barrister will outline his response on Tuesday. The case continues.
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