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WEIR ON FRESH ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES OVER JIGGER VIDEO

East Coast Racing

MELBOURNE Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir has been hit with fresh racing charges relating to his use of a jigger on three horses on the eve of the 2018 Melbourne Cup carnival.

DAMIEN RACTLIFFE reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Weir, trainer Jarrod McLean and stablehand Tyson Kermond were hit with 10 charges each from Racing Victoria stewards on Thursday relating to the use of an electronic apparatus on Yogi, Red Cardinal and Tosen Basil while they ran on a treadmill at Weir’s Warrnambool stables on October 30, 2018.

The trio were caught on video using the jigger, with the 15-minute clip used by police in court last year to assist in their animal cruelty case against the three men.

They were found guilty of animal cruelty in the Magistrates Court in December last year, but avoided a conviction. The footage was then made available to Racing Victoria stewards who opened a fresh investigation into the trio.

In February 2019, Weir was disqualified for four years for the possession of jiggers after they were found in his bedroom in a police raid.

Despite being eligible to reapply for his racing licence since February this year, he has been inactive, awaiting the findings of the stewards’ reactivated investigation.

On Thursday, stewards handed down 10 charges against each of the men – four charges for corrupt conduct and six charges for animal cruelty.

“The charges relate to the stewards’ inquiry into the conduct of Mr Weir, Mr McLean and Mr Kermond which was reactivated after further evidence was presented in the Magistrates’ Court on 14 December 2022 in the course of criminal proceedings against the three individuals,” the stewards’ statement said.

“Since December, the stewards have conducted a comprehensive investigation involving interviews with multiple persons and analysis of a substantial volume of materials.”

In detailing the corrupt conduct charges, stewards said: “Mr Weir was at all relevant times the licensed trainer of Red Cardinal, Tosen Basil and Yogi.

“On or about 30 October 2018, on each horse Mr Weir used an electric or electronic apparatus capable of affecting their performance in a race.

“Mr Weir applied the apparatus to Red Cardinal, Tosen Basil and Yogi with the intention of affecting their performance, and thereby affecting their results in future races.”

Kermond responded to the development, saying: “If the mental stress of the last five years wasn’t enough they want to take it further. I haven’t worked in racing for five years and have been a stock agent.”

Weir and McLean were also contacted for comment.

Weir – who has a desire to return to racing – is accused of using the jigger seven times on Red Cardinal, and nine times each on Yogi and Tosen Basil.

McLean and Kermond were also charged with corrupt conduct and for abetting Weir.

The trio will face the Victorian Racing Tribunal at a date to be fixed.

Weir is currently pre-training horses, but would be banned from working with horses if disqualified from racing a second time.

A host of Weir’s former clients told this masthead last November that they would be prepared to support Weir if he was granted another licence.

But stewards made it clear after the court case was finalised in December that they would renew their investigation.

“The original penalties related to the possession charges and that matter proceeded on the evidence that was available at that time,” Jamie Stier, Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of integrity services, said in December last year.

“Following yesterday’s open court hearing, there’s been further evidence come to light.

“In October 2019, the stewards actually opened an inquiry into the criminal charges laid by the police, so that inquiry has been sitting there open. The stewards have reactivated their inquiry now, and they will now consider any evidence that becomes available to them.”

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