|Steward's attire c.1890.|
Addressing the central allegation that on 4 September 2012, at Seymour, Nikolic verbally abused Chief Steward Terry Bailey and threatened his family, counsel for the stewards Sandip Mukerjea of Minter Ellison declared:
"The threat was delivered in the absence of witnesses so as to have the maximum impact."Mukerjea told the three-man panel, which does not hear testimony under oath, that Nikolic had a pattern of "abusive, disrespectful and threatening conduct" towards racing authorities. He had "verbally attacked Bailey four times since February 2010 and that stewards did not want him back riding".
Slam dunk. Guilty on both counts. Two years and one year, served concurrently.
In their reasons for decision, the RAD Board said it was...
"...imperative for the well being of racing that participants can be confident that the stewards, as the persons responsible for the day to day control of racing, discharge their duties free of any risk of being compromised, by the spectre of threats to themselves or their families."The Board offered "Danny" no comfort, no leniency and no benefit of the doubt for being a multiple group 1 winner:
"Mr Nikolic does not gain credit for previous good conduct. He does not have an unblemished record relevant to these charges. In June 2010 he received a $2,000 fine and in November 2010 a $10,000 fine and licence suspension for 6 months with 4 months suspended."Nikolic is expected to lodge an appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal as early as tomorrow morning. Failing that it will be off to the Victorian Supreme Court for more lawyers' picnics.
Oh, and not forgetting ongoing investigations into race-fixing.