In accordance with section 50C of the Racing Act, the Tribunal in its original jurisdiction has the power to hear and determine charges that are 'serious offences' under the rules of Greyhound Racing Victoria, Harness Racing Victoria or Racing Victoria.
Being charged with a serious offence
Generally, the Stewards will provide the person charged with a copy of the Notice of Charge and the brief of evidence (sometimes referred to as a Hearing Book) in support of the charge. The brief may include transcripts of interviews or inquiries, witness statements and statements from experts.
A copy of the Tribunal Procedures document will also be included with the brief. Prior to setting a hearing date, the Registrar will contact the person charged (or their representative if previously advised) to confirm any information relevant to the proceeding. This may include whether the defendant has engaged representation, an indication of the plea and whether the charge (or aspects of it) are being contested, along with any other relevant information, such as witnesses required.
The Tribunal will then set a date for the hearing of the charge/s and the Registrar will advise the relevant parties.
Where required, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson may schedule a directions hearing prior to the Tribunal hearing to discuss any preliminary or outstanding matters that are being contested. A directions hearing is conducted with parties before the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson present and not usually before a full panel.
Filing and serving documents
Filing and service of documentation is to be done via email to the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies of any documentation filed with the Tribunal must be served to all relevant parties. The Tribunal may make orders that parties are to file and serve documents by certain dates. If no such orders are made by the Tribunal, all documentation should be filed and served 3 business days prior to the hearing date.
At the hearing
The order in which the parties present their case to the Tribunal and the way this is done will depend on the nature of the proceeding and is subject to the discretion of the Tribunal Chairperson.
However, hearings generally have the following features:
- The Stewards, or a representative on their behalf, will lead the evidence and make submissions in support of the charge.
- The person charged or his or her representative will then have the opportunity to cross examine any witness called by the Stewards.
- The Stewards or their representative may re-examine any of their witnesses.
- The person charged also has the right to call, cross examine and re-examine witnesses.
- The person charged and the Stewards have the right to call on subject matter experts to assist them by presenting on the relevant technical aspects of the case.
Following final submissions, the Tribunal will make its decision and if a charge is proven to the satisfaction of the Tribunal, it will hear submissions as to penalty.
For more complex matters, the Tribunal may decide to reserve their decision and hand it down at a later date. Once the Tribunal is in a position to hand down its decision, the Registrar will notify parties of the date that this will occur.
Following the handing down of a decision, the Tribunal may schedule a further hearing to enable the parties to make submissions about penalty. In some circumstances, these submissions may be made in writing (sometimes referred to as 'on the papers') which means that a further hearing would not be required.
Appealing a VRT Decision
For information regarding appealing a VRT decision, please visit the Appeals page.