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Patrick Coffey (Owner) Referral – Stable Inspection 6th June 2017


The Referrals Committee, Justice Tony Hunt, (in the chair), Philip Caffrey and Philip McLernon met at the Turf Club, Curragh, Co. Kildare on Tuesday, 26th September 2017 to consider whether or not, Patrick Coffey, Owner, was in breach of any rules following a stable inspection carried out at the Training Establishment of James Coyle on 6th June 2017 by Turf Club officials Michael O’Donoghue and Declan Condell.

During the inspection, there was evidence that Patrick Coffey may have been training and running horses without a licence in breach of Rule 147(ii). The Inspection team was told by James Coyle that the following horses had been kept at Mr. Coffey’s premises, which are unlicensed, and despite being returned in training under Mr. Coyle’s name had been trained by Mr. Coffey without any supervision or direction from Mr. Coyle.

1. “Bendigo Too” (owned by Nana’s Boys Syndicate);
2. “Dottie Lottie” (owned by Patricks Girls Syndicate);
3. “Joy for Mary” (owned by Patrick Coffey & Mrs. Carmel Magee); and
4. “Miss Magoo” (owned by Patrick Coffey & Mrs. Carmel Magee).

The Referrals Committee were asked to consider whether or not Patrick Coffey was in breach of the following specific Rules:

1. Breach of Rule 147(i) in failing to operate in strict compliance with the Rules and Regulations of the Turf Club.
2. Breach of Rule 147(ii) for training, entering and running horses within the jurisdiction of the Turf Club without having an appropriate licence or permission.
3. Breach of Rule 272 (i) for being party to the provision of false information regarding the location and training of horse owned by him to the Turf Club.
4. Breach of Rule 273 (viii) for engaging with others, in fraudulent practice with regard to the training and running of horses.
5. Breach of Rule 273 (ix) for encouraging and/or aiding a licensed person (James Coyle) to engage in a corrupt or fraudulent practice.
6. Breach of Rule 273 (xiii) for acting in a manner which is considered to be prejudicial to the interesting of the Turf Club and is likely to cause serious damage to the interests of horseracing in Ireland.

The committee noted a submission from Cliodhna Guy who outlined the efforts she had made to contact Mr. Coffey, (who was not present) about today’s hearing. She made reference to an email submitted by Mr. Coffey on 29th August 2017 which had been given to the committee with the papers for today’s hearing. It was also noted that Mr. Coffey had attended the Turf Club this morning to hand in a letter on a related matter but left before the hearing commenced.

Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee noted the efforts which had been made to contact Mr. Coffey and that he had declined to attend even though the implications of him not attending had been drawn to his attention. They noted that there were a number of overlapping rules which Mr. Coffey had been charged with and in the circumstances found that he was in breach of Rules 272(i) and 273(viii) which covered what had occurred.

In arriving at penalty, they found that Patrick Coffey, (rather than James Coyle) was the instigator of what occurred which is why he was being convicted of the more serious rule breaches. They noted that they did not have the benefit of any explanation from Patrick Coffey as he had chosen not to attend the hearing.

They found that Mr. Coffey’s actions misled the public and that such actions should attract a penalty unless there were unusual circumstances which did not apply in this case. They also found that as Mr. Coffey had not attended the hearing despite being requested to do so, he was in breach of Rule 25 but rather than finding a specific breach of this rule, they would take this into account when considering penalty.

In mitigation, they noted that Mr. Coffey had a clean disciplinary record but apart from this there were no other mitigating circumstances put before the committee for their consideration.

Taking all relevant matters into consideration, the committee imposed a two year disqualification period on Patrick Coffey. They also ordered that Bendigo Too, Dottie Lottie, Joy For Mary and Miss Magoo be restricted from running for 12 months. All penalties to commence on 5th October 2017 subject to any appeal.

The case was presented by Cliodhna Guy, Solicitor, Head of Licensing, Legal and Compliance.

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