High-profile harness racing court case delayed again

A harness racing figure scheduled to appear in the district court tomorrow has had their case...
A harness racing figure scheduled to appear in the district court tomorrow has had their case pushed back again. Photo: Getty Images
Court proceedings involving a high-profile Canterbury harness racing figure caught up in a major police probe into corruption and drug use in the industry has been delayed again.

The person was scheduled to appear in the Christchurch District Court tomorrow, but the hearing has been tentatively pushed back to February 11.

The person had also been expected to appear in court on July 16.

Suppression orders prevent the person being identified. The charges faced are also subject to suppression orders.

But The Star is aware a key part of the court proceedings is a bid by the defendant, and others in the industry also before the courts, to stop the police evidence being handed over to racing investigators.

Their lawyers have been arguing points of law to stop the evidence accessed by the Racing Integrity Board, which has the power to prosecute under racing rules. The penalties can be severe, including lengthy bans from the sport.

Judge Raoul Neave.
Judge Raoul Neave.
But a decision on whether that evidence can be accessed by the RIB remains with Judge Raoul Neave who has yet to release his judgement after lengthy legal arguments.

The police investigation, dubbed Operation Inca, charged 13 people in September, 2018, following raids on harness racing stables in Canterbury and Auckland. It was overseen by the National Organised Crime Group.

It involved undercover officers and electronic surveillance and focused on alleged drug use and race fixing.

Five individuals have been dealt with and the remaining defendants are still before the courts.

“The investigation is currently awaiting a number of judicial decisions on the remaining defendants,” a police spokesperson told The Star.

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