Appeal joy for Milczarek
Appeal board overturn disciplinary panel decision
Last Updated: 10/04/12 5:49pm
Kirsty Milczarek: Won her appeal
Kirsty Milczarek was successful on Tuesday in her appeal against a two-year riding ban which was imposed by the British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel in December.
Milczarek had originally been found in breach of the old Rule 201 (v), which concerned anyone who is "Guilty of or conspires with any other person for the commission of, or connives at any other person being guilty of, any corrupt or fraudulent practice in relation to racing in this or any other country".
She had also been found in breach of former Rule 243, which concerned "Passing information for reward", following the conclusion of a lengthy investigation into a betting ring said by the BHA to have been masterminded by two registered owners, Maurice Sines and James Crickmore.
The charges related to 10 races between January 17, 2009 and August 15, 2009.
The Appeal Board said in a statement today: "The (Disciplinary) Panel's finding that Milczarek was a party to the conspiracy cannot stand and her appeal succeeds."
Milczarek came under scrutiny for her ride on Obe Gold in August 2009 at Lingfield.
Milczarek had reportedly been told the horse could be difficult in the stalls and not to take the blindfold off until the last possible moment, but the panel found that she removed it four seconds before the stalls opened.
By the time the stalls opened the horse dived to its left, slamming her shoulder into the upright causing an injury which the disciplinary panel said would then have affected her ride.
At the original disciplinary panel hearing, she was found not guilty of a breach of Rule 157 (intentionally failing to ensure that a horse is run on its merits) but in breach of Rule 201 (v).
Milczarek's solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said: "She's very gratified.
"I think they may fast-track her licence application as obviously she has been banned for a period of time that she shouldn't have been. She will technically have to re-apply.
"She was doing very well when all this happened.
"The first decision, I always felt, was utterly bizarre. I could not understand how you could find someone guilty for effectively taking a blindfold off early. By that they then connected her to people who laid the horse."
Licence To Ride
BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey confirmed that as soon as Milczarek reapplied for her licence she would be able to restart her career.
Mounsey said: "As soon as she reapplies and all the paperwork is sorted she will be able to ride."
Paul Scotney, Director of Integrity Services, Compliance and Licensing for the BHA, said in a statement: "As was said at the time of the initial hearing, the scale and complexity of this case remains unprecedented in the history of BHA.
"Consequently from the perspective of the BHA's Integrity and Compliance team, it is rewarding that the Appeal Board has endorsed the findings of the Disciplinary Panel regarding the activities of the individuals at the heart of the conspiracy.
"Indeed, to quote the Appeal Board, they said "taken as a whole the BHA's case against Maurice Sines and James Crickmore was a strong one", adding that "...this conspiracy and particularly the conduct of Sines and Crickmore struck at the heart of the integrity of racing.
"It must be made clear to all those who contemplate taking part in this sort of conspiracy, in whatever capacity, that they must expect that the penalties for doing so will be severe.
"We accept the decision of the Appeal Board to allow the appeal of Kirsty Milczarek. It is the role of the Appeal Board to consider such appeals and additional evidence when presented.
"However, we stand by the original decision to include the race as one of the 10 under scrutiny on account of the extraordinary betting patterns and the pattern of communication around the race."
As a consequence of Milczarek's successful appeal, the penalties for both Sines and Crickmore were reduced to 13 years disqualification, from the original penalty of 14 years.
Unlicensed individual Nick Gold had the disciplinary panel ruling that his exclusion should not be considered for seven years reduced to five years.