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Brian J. Hallanhan / P.J. Crowley Referrals


Brian J. Hallahan (Restricted Trainer) / P.J. Crowley Referrals

Random Stable Inspection 24th July 2013

The Referrals Committee, Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), Mrs. J.O. Onions and Con O’Mahony met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday, 22nd August 2013 to consider the referrals of Brian J. Hallahan, restricted trainer, and P.J. Crowley by Denis Egan, Chief Executive of the Turf Club following a random stable inspection carried out at his Training Establishment on 24th July 2013 by Turf Club Officials, Michael O’Donoghue and Ms. Nicola O’Connor M.R.C.V.S.

During the visit the officials found that:

(i) Queen of Thecastle, which had been returned in training by Brian J. Hallahan was never under his care, but was at all times under the care of P.J. Crowley, who was not a licensed trainer.

(ii) Movealong Ruby, which had been returned in training by Brian J. Hallahan on 5th July 2013 and returned out of training by him on the day before the inspection, was also never under his care, but was at all times under the care of P.J. Crowley

(iii) Neither Queen of Thecastle nor Movealong Ruby were under his care when both horses ran at Killarney on 15th July 2013.

Evidence was heard from Michael O’Donoghue, Ms Nicola O’Connor M.R.C.V.S, Brian J. Hallahan and P.J. Crowley.   In his evidence Michael O’Donoghue outlined what was found when they visited the training establishment of Brian J Hallahan on 24th July 2013. He said that Queen of Thecastle, which had been returned in training by Mr. Hallahan, was not present. He was told by Mr. Hallahan that Queen of Thecastle was exercising on the beach and would be back in about 30 minutes. Both he and Nicola O’Connor waited for the horse to return and the horse was brought back by P.J. Crowley and unloaded. He said the horse appeared to be a “stranger to the yard” and was put into a stable which had not been used for some time.

When Mr. Crowley was questioned about the horse he admitted that she was under his care at all times and was never under the care of Brian J Hallahan.  They then went back to Brian J. Hallahan’s house to discuss the matter further and he accepted that Queen of Thecastle was never under his care. He also accepted that Movealong Ruby, which had been returned in training by him on 5th July 2013 and out of training by him on 23rd July 2013, was never under his care but was also at all times under the care of P.J. Crowley. In conclusion Mr. O’Donoghue said that Mr. Hallahan co-operated fully with the investigation.   In her evidence Ms. Nicola O’Connor confirmed the evidence given by Michael O’Donoghue.   In his evidence Brian J Hallahan said that he accepted that both horses were never under his care and that he didn’t realise how serious it was to return horses in training which were under the care of a third party. He apologised for what he had done. He said he now accepted the implications for him of what could have occurred if issues arose on the racecourse with regard to training of the horses or if either horse had tested positive for prohibited substances.

In his evidence P. J. Crowley accepted the evidence given by Michael O’Donoghue. He said he apologised for what had occurred and he described his behaviour as irresponsible. He said that, while neither horse was stabled at Mr Hallahan’s yard, they used his gallops regularly. He said he regretted very much getting Mr Hallahan into trouble.   On the basis of the evidence, the Committee held that both Brian J. Hallahan and P.J. Crowley, being persons involved in horseracing and by their respective conduct, had acted in a manner prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing, and were thereby in breach of Rule 272.

On the question of penalty, the Committee took account of the evidence given by both men and of the matters raised by them in mitigation of penalty.  Although there was an initial attempt to conceal the true situation from the inspectors, the Committee accepted that thereafter they had co-operated as fully as possible with the inspectors and with the subsequent investigation and hearing.  They also took account of the remorse expressed by both Brian J. Hallahan and P.J. Crowley and the fact that neither had a record of previous breaches of the Rules. 

The Committee decided that since conduct of this type involved serious disregard for the basic integrity of the licensing system, and since training and running horses in such circumstances involved serial misrepresentations to the racing authorities and members of the public reliant upon the accuracy of details published pertaining to the training of horses, the starting point for the consideration of penalty in such cases ought to be a period of permanent or lengthy disqualification.

Having regard to the mitigating factors applicable in these cases, the Committee opted for the approach of imposing a period of disqualification at the lower end of this scale.  The Committee was also of the opinion that the imposition of a suspended or monetary penalty in respect of such breaches would be appropriate only in the most exceptional circumstances.

In relation to the breaches of Rule 272, pursuant to Rule 19A (8)(iii), the Committee withdrew the restricted licence to train which had been issued to Mr. Hallahan for the period from 1/3/2013 to 28/2/2014 and declared that he is disqualified by reason of these findings from holding such a licence (or a full training licence) for a period of 2 years.  In relation to Mr. Crowley, the Committee declared that he is not entitled by reason of the findings against him to apply for or to hold either a restricted or full training licence for a period of two years.

The effective date of imposition of these penalties for the purposes of Rule 256 shall be the 25th September 2013.  The Committee recommends that if either Mr. Hallahan or Mr. Crowley lodge an appeal against finding or penalty within the time provided by this Rule, the operation of the relevant penalty should be stayed by the Turf Club pending resolution of any such appeal.

Having regard to the overall findings and penalties imposed in relation to the breaches of Rule 272, the Committee did not make any findings or impose any distinct or separate penalties in respect of any breaches of any provision of any other Rules that may have been open on the evidence, save that each of the horses mentioned were directed to be disqualified from the relevant races run at Killarney, and the judge’s placings are to amended accordingly, on the basis that any such breaches were considered as part of the adverse finding and penalty imposed relating to Rule 272.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.

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