05 October 2012

Nikolic rolls last dice as Hines hangs tough

As widely expected, disqualified jockey Danny Nikolic has lodged a legal appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against this week's earlier decision by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, but there will be no "immediate" return to the track. Nikolic is seeking to have two applications heard on VCAT's Occupational & Business Regulation List:
  1. a stay of enforcement of the penalty,
  2. the overturning of the RAD Board decision. 
A VCAT spokesperson told TC that the first matter was expected to be listed on Monday and would "likely be heard within a week to 10 days".
  • If successful it may mean Nikolic will be free to ride as early as the Caulfield Cup meeting on October 27.  
  • If unsuccessful, contrary to popular opinion, Nikolic will have no further avenue of appeal unless his lawyers can make a case that VCAT erred on a point of law. Then, and only then, could he be granted leave to appeal to Victoria's Supreme Court or Court of Appeal. 
It would need to be some error.

Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, Racing Victoria CEO Rob Hines has backed the RAD Board decision, revealing it was in line with what Stewards were seeking. Hines rejected reported claims that the penalty should have conformed to standard UK integrity practice of a 41 day suspension instead of a two year disqualification. And he is in no doubt that Chief Steward Terry Bailey was:
 "...an outstanding individual and he's doing a fabulous job".
UPDATE:  The Age reports Nikolic's application on the stay of the penalty will be heard next Tuesday, October 16.

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