Goulburn harness racing trainer Dean Atkinson was yesterday disqualified for 10 years for bribing a former steward in relation to drug testing allegations.
A special three man stewards panel was set up by Harness Racing NSW to oversee the on going investigations into the wide ranging drug and betting scandal in the industry.
Atkinson is the first to be sent out by the special panel of Justice Wayne Halen, Ray Murrihy and Des Gleeson but the trainer also had three charges laid against him by police at Picton Local Court on December 20 to which he pleaded guilty.
He was charged with corruption under Australian Harness Racing Rule 241 after having been found giving steward Matthew Bentley money on three occasions to stop his horses being drug tested at Penrith and Menangle harness race meetings.
At Penrith on May 12 Atkinson’s pacers The Reluctant Dancer and The Open were the horses involved and at Menangle on May 17 The Reluctant Dancer was again the runner in question.
The three man panel also disqualified The Reluctant Dancer from his two wins at Penrith and Menangle and Atkinson was ordered to pay back the $6584 prizemoney.
Former steward Bently resigned from his position at Harness Racing NSW on August 8 last year and hasn’t been charged by police or the internal Harness Racing NSW’s on going investigation.
HRNSW prosecutor Reid Sanders wouldn’t comment on the length of the disqualification because of the seriousness of the ongoing investigations.
“The findings contain sensitive information that could impact the charges laid against other participants and won’t be published until those other cases have finished,” he said.