Greyhound trainer fights life ban amid ‘witch-hunt’ claims
A greyhound trainer banned for life for using sheepskin on a lure says he did not breach live-baiting race rules.
Martin John Noy claimed he was the victim of a witch-hunt by Greyhound Racing Victoria and slammed laws introduced after the 2015 live-baiting scandal in as "unfair".
He successfully challenged the life ban, but failed in a bid to have a shorter punishment overturned.
The GRV charged him with "serious offences" relating to breaches of racing rules in April last year, 12 months after an inspection at his property found two sheepskins which investigators suspected were being used to train his dogs.
Noy said one sheepskin was 25 years old, and inspectors never found any cruelty or welfare issues at his kennels.
He claimed they only charged him a year on after other unrelated disputes he was having with the GRV, including a three-year spat over the grading of a greyhound.
The other dispute related to the payment of vet fees for a dog injured at the racetrack.
Representing himself at a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing to fight the ban imposed by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, Noy asked if the GRV deemed serious offences had occurred, why did it take so long to charge him, and why was his property not inspected again in the meantime.
Noy said the charges were "vexatious" and that he was "being made an example of".
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
He said the "live-baiting" rule related to the "prevention of cruelty to animals", and rawhide and tanned leather should not be included under the rule.
But the racing rules stipulate it is an offence to use "any animal, animal carcass or any part of an animal" to entice, excite or encourage a greyhound to pursue.
The tough new laws were introduced in early 2016 in response to the live-baiting saga and included a penalty of life disqualification for such crimes unless special circumstances were established.
The tribunal accepted the use of leather products would technically breach the new provisions.
But it said the laws were brought in with the intent of providing "a strong and unambiguous response to an existential threat to the greyhound industry".
The tribunal overturned Noy's trainer's licence cancellation and instead imposed a 12-month ban, which would end in November.
On his return to training, he would have to be of good behaviour for a further 12 months.
It said Noy's offending was at the lower end of the spectrum; he had excellent character with no disciplinary history and had fully co-operated with the investigation.
He had also suffered financial hardship and mental health issues, the tribunal ruled.
Noy challenged the new penalty at the Supreme Court this week, but it was dismissed.
Originally published as Greyhound trainer fights life ban amid 'witch-hunt' claims