VIC - Robert Walters - Stewards Inquiry Concluded - Race 2 Cranbourne 31/01/2019

12 April 2019

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have concluded an inquiry into the driving tactics adopted by Robert Walters in Race 2  at the Cranbourne race meeting on 31 January 2019 when the driver of At West Point NZ.

Evidence was taken from Mr Walters immediately following the running of the race. The inquiry was adjourned to allow Stewards the opportunity to examine betting on the race and Mr Walters’ mobile telephone which was confiscated on the evening.

No integrity concerns were identified in the betting data from the race or the information gathered via the forensic examination of Mr Walters’ mobile telephone.

At the resumption of the inquiry further evidence was taken from Mr Walters who subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 149(2) which states:

 “A person shall not drive in a manner which in the opinion of the Stewards is unacceptable.”

The particulars of the charge were that Mr Walters persisted with an extended challenge for the lead over the first 350m of the race during an exceptionally fast first quarter when there was no realistic opportunity of his drive crossing Byalla Boy to lead the race.

Mr Walters provided submissions on penalty and in determining penalty Stewards were mindful of the following factors:

  • The relevant considerations outlined within the HRV Stewards Minimum Penalty Guidelines;
  • Mr Walters’ guilty plea and record under the relevant rule;
  • Mr Walters’ driving experience, driving frequency and the level of culpability involved;
  • General and specific deterrence;
  • Mr Walters’ personal circumstances.

Stewards accordingly imposed a four week suspension of Mr Walters’ licence to drive in races. This suspension was ordered to commence at midnight on 9 April 2019.

Mr Walters was apprised of his right of appeal.