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The Orders and Rules of Racing


Schedule 10 - Protocol in relation to guilty pleas and plea bargaining

General Principles

1. It is in the interests of racing that persons correctly charged under the Rules of Racing plead guilty to such charges at an early stage. Guilty pleas

1.1 avoid the risk of the guilty being acquitted,
1.2 enable the appropriate sanction to be applied as soon as possible,
1.3 save significant cost, and
1.4 remove the need for witnesses (from all sides) to give up their time in order to attend hearings.

2. In exceptional circumstances it may be appropriate for certain charges not to be proceeded with in exchange for a guilty plea to other charges. This will only be done when the Authority is satisfied that

2.1 the likely penalty for the remaining offences is sufficient to protect the interests of racing, and
2.2 there is no other compelling reason to proceed to determine the charge at a hearing.

3. Charges will only be brought when it is appropriate to do so by the Disciplinary Officer under the applicable criteria, and

3.1 not as a means of applying pressure in the hope of obtaining a guilty plea to other charges, or
3.2 with the intention of their being dropped before the Enquiry.

4. The Authority cannot give binding indications as to penalty and should make it clear to accused persons that the decision on penalty is for the Disciplinary Panel.
5. The Authority will draw the accused person's attention to the guidance in the current Guide to Procedures and Penalties concerning

5.1 the effect of guilty pleas (see Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Section 6), and
5.2 the entry point for the relevant offence.

6. Furthermore when given an opportunity to address the Panel regarding both the seriousness of the conduct and nature of the penalty which the Panel might consider to be appropriate, it is right that the Authority should volunteer to the Panel when doing so information about the assistance it has received.
6A. Any correspondence or communications between the parties as part of this protocol shall be confidential between them, whatever the outcome and shall not be disclosed to the Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Board as applicable.

Practical Steps

7. If an accused person indicates a willingness to plead guilty to all the charges against him he should be encouraged to do so without delay, either

7.1 by way of his Schedule 6 Paragraph 7.2 submissions, or
7.2 otherwise in writing to the Secretary of the Disciplinary Panel.

8. If an accused person indicates a willingness to plead guilty to some charges, whether in exchange for other charges being dropped or otherwise, the Case Manager will

8.1 in consultation with the Head of Integrity, Legal and Risk (or Disciplinary), and
8.2 if possible the appropriate Executive Director,

8.2.1 seek to establish as clearly as possible the factual basis on which the accused person is willing to plead guilty; this will ideally be done by means of a draft statement of facts, and
8.2.2 consult with the Disciplinary Officer (DO) as to whether the proposal merits serious consideration.

9. If the DO decides to accept the proposal or a modified version of it the accused person will be so informed.
10. The DO will make his decision taking account of

10.1 all relevant considerations, and
10.2 the importance of the case in the overall interests of racing.

11. In the unlikely event that the DO is unable to be contacted, any decision should be taken

11.1 with as many of the relevant Executive Directors as possible, and
11.2 immediately recorded by the Case Manager.

12. If an accused person pleads guilty to all charges, or the decision is made to accept guilty pleas to some charges and not to proceed with others, the Authority and the accused person or his representatives should attempt to agree a statement of facts concerning the offence(s).
13. The purpose of the statement of facts is to provide the Panel with sufficient information to enable it to make an accurate assessment of the seriousness of the offence(s) (see Schedule 6 Paragraph 10). A statement of facts may not be necessary in very simple cases.

Newton Hearing

14. If a statement of facts cannot be agreed it may be necessary

14.1 to convene a preliminary hearing so that the Disciplinary Panel can assess whether the disagreement is such that it should be resolved before a decision on penalty is made, and
14.1 if so give directions as to how that should be done.

15. There may also be occasions where the Panel feel that

15.1 an agreed statement of facts is insufficient for the Panel to make a proper judgment of the true level of culpability, and
15.2 may wish the Authority to present some or all of its case and evidence and to hear the evidence of the accused in reply.

16. The Panel may give directions for what is known as a Newton hearing.

Goodyear Hearing

17. Where there is a wide range of penalty in the Guide to Procedures and Penalties for particular misconduct, an accused person may wish to receive an indication of the level of penalty to be expected if they make admissions. This is when a Goodyear hearing will be required.
18. Experience suggests the following guidelines will be helpful

18.1 every effort must be made to avoid last minute Goodyear style conferences or hearings, and the initiative should be with the accused to approach the Authority, not vice versa;
18.2 it is inappropriate for the Authority and the accused to conclude a bargain as such (plea in return for agreed penalty/dropped charges) which is then jointly presented to the Panel.

19. The Authority should only respond by indicating if it would be prepared in principle to drop certain charges if an accused admits others, or not. If the Authority is so prepared then a Goodyear hearing will be arranged.
20. The Authority should address the Panel on penalty in a very similar manner to other cases. It should

20.1 refer to the Guide to Procedures and Penalties,
20.2 draw attention to what it sees as aggravating or mitigating factors, and
20.2 to the importance or seriousness of the case as it sees it in the overall context of racing.

21. The Authority may make submissions on the nature of

21.1 the penalty e.g. fine versus suspension, or
21.2 a combination of both.

22. The Authority will not, however, request

22.1 a particular level of fine, or
22.2 period of disqualification or suspension as the case may be.

23. The Authority should conclude by saying that if, having received the Panel's indication of its thinking on penalty, the accused is prepared to admit particular charges, the Authority will, with the Panel's consent, drop the other charges.