Horse Trainer Ben Currie (stripe shirt - no tie) on his way to QCAT for a 9:30am heading. Pic Mark Cranitch.
Horse Trainer Ben Currie (stripe shirt - no tie) on his way to QCAT for a 9:30am heading. Pic Mark Cranitch.

Currie granted stay of proceedings in jigger case

BEN Currie is again free to continue his training career after securing his second stay of proceedings in nine months at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Thursday.

The stay follows the suspension of his licence by QRIC stewards on Monday night after they issued seven new charges to him last Friday, the most serious of which related to the alleged use of jiggers.

QCAT member Robert Olding ruled Currie be granted a stay until five business days after the result of his internal review is determined. If the internal review, an initial level of appeal into the suspension, confirms the stewards' decision, Currie would need to apply for another stay.

 

Trainer Ben Currie is free to resume training after being granted a stay of proceedings at QCAT hearing in Brisbane. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Trainer Ben Currie is free to resume training after being granted a stay of proceedings at QCAT hearing in Brisbane. Picture: Mark Cranitch

 

The Toowoomba trainer was also granted a stay mid-last year after being stood down pending the outcome of 28 charges emanating from an investigation that began on April 7.

Those original 28 charges, in addition to four positive swab cases, are yet to be heard because they are subject to a Supreme Court judicial review, which will be heard in Brisbane on Friday.

Hearings into those charges can take place when the outcome of that review is known.

Currie will have no runners this weekend owing to Monday's suspension, but he can now nominate for races scheduled for next week.

Jim Murdoch QC, acting for Currie, described the orders to stand Currie down as "draconian" and said they were "calculated to destroy his business".

Murdoch contended the material relied on by stewards were merely "snippets" rather than an entire transcript, a claim that was opposed by his opposite, Scott McLeod QC, who was acting for QRIC.

 

Ben Currie can nominate horses for racesnext week after gaining a stay of proceedings. Picture: AAP
Ben Currie can nominate horses for racesnext week after gaining a stay of proceedings. Picture: AAP

 

Thursday's hearing was told the charges relating to the alleged use of jiggers came from text messages from 2016 and 2017, sourced as part of the ongoing April 7 Weetwood Day inquiry, which used the expressions "harped up" and "harped him up".

"Harped up is capable of having a multiple of benign meanings," Murdoch said.

He described harped up as a "slang term" which could relate to the "skilled preparation" of horses in trials and gallops.

"There was no reference to a jigger or battery," Murdoch said. "There were no devices of that nature found" he said, saying Currie had denied ever using a battery.

McLeod told QCAT that stewards were well within their rights to make the orders they did.

"The inquiry on Monday was to enable Currie to present submissions. Stewards had expectations he would provide reasons and explain as to why the powers shouldn't be used," he said. "That wasn't done. All Currie gave submissions about was to the effect of his business operation.

"In the absence of any submissions addressing the charges, stewards were plainly at liberty to form a view to make the orders they made."



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