Horseman seeks review of doping decision

Last updated 11:49 21/11/2012
Craig Simcox
SEEKING REVIEW: Australian harness driver Lance Justice is seeking a judicial review of the decision that stripped him of an $800,000 inter-dominion final he won.

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Melbourne-based horseman Lance Justice is seeking a judicial review of the decision that stripped him of the $800,000 inter-dominion final he won in April last year.

Lawyers for the top Australian harness driver are arguing the review before Justice Whata in the High Court at Christchurch.

The review is of the decision by the Judicial Control Authority of Harness Racing New Zealand, which disqualified Smoken Up after the horse returned a positive swab for dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) following its win in the final at Alexandra Park, Auckland, on April 8, 2011.

Justice was charged with breaching the rule that requires a horse to be presented to race free of prohibited substances.

Justice's lawyer, Mary-Jane Thomas, today brought an argument about the interpretation of the rules.

At the original hearing, Thomas challeged the testing procedures and security around the horses at Alexandra Park, arguing the horse could have been contaminated with DMSO by being touched by one of many people who gathered around it after the race.

The substance is used as an anti-inflammatory or painkiller and is easily ingested or absorbed through the skin.

She argued it could never be suggested that the substance found had made the horse run any faster.

Justice Whata said the rule appeared "utterly draconian" in imposing an absolute liability on the person in charge of the horse to ensure it was free of prohibited substances.

Chris Lange appeared for Harness Racing New Zealand.

The hearing is expected to be completed today.

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- Fairfax Media

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