Shane Brian Kelly Appeal Banned Substance – Leopardstown, 13th August 2015



The Appeals Body (Division 2) Mr Justice Tony Hunt (in the chair), Sean Barry and Laurence McFerran met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co Kildare on Monday, 4th January 2016 to consider the appeal of Shane Brian Kelly, rider, against the decision of the Referrals Committee on 10th November 2015.

At the Referrals Committee hearing Shane Brian Kelly was found in breach of Rule 277, as a sample of urine taken from him during in-competition testing on 13th August 2015 at Leopardstown Racecourse, Co Dublin was found to contain benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl esther (metabolites of cocaine). Under the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, cocaine is a banned substance because it acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system, with addictive and hallucinogenic properties and is prohibited in-competition pursuant to the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List International Standard as adopted by the Turf Club.

As a result of the finding the Referrals Committee imposed a two year suspension on him from holding a license with effect from 24th November 2015, with the last year of the penalty suspended on condition that the balance thereof could be activated immediately by any Referrals Committee which found at any future time that Mr Kelly had committed a further doping offence during the period of suspension, together with such further penalty in respect of the future offence as might be appropriate. They had further ordered that Shane Brian Kelly submit to a programme of random drug testing for the next two years, at the direction and discretion of the Turf Club Medical Officer.

The grounds of appeals lodged were that the penalty imposed was unduly harsh given the circumstances of the manner in which Shane Brian Kelly had met the case, the supporting evidence provided at the hearing and on a comparative review of cases previously coming before the Referrals Committee.

Evidence was heard from Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Turf Club Medical Officer, Michael O’Callaghan, Master of Shane Brian Kelly, Ken Hartnett, Mentor, and Shane Brian Kelly. The Appeals Body also considered written reports from Frank Moran, Irish Jockeys Trust and Dr. Deirdre Gleeson, Specialist in Occupational Health and a transcript of the original hearing on 10th November 2015.

In his evidence Dr Adrian McGoldrick gave details of his interactions with Shane Brian Kelly since the referral hearing. He said that five tests taken from Mr Kelly since then were negative and he complimented the rider’s attitude and approach.

In his evidence Michael O’Callaghan said that Shane Brian Kelly was a very valuable asset to his yard. He complimented his work ethic and the way he is dealing with the matter.

In his evidence Keith Hartnett outlined how he was working with Mr Kelly and the support he was providing to him.

In his evidence Shane Brian Kelly outlined the steps he is taking so as to ensure he gets back to race riding.

Having considered the evidence the Appeals Body noted that the decision of the Referrals Committee was correct based on the evidence that was presented at that hearing. However, there was now additional evidence available which was not available to the Referrals Committee, namely the five negative tests taken since that hearing and details of steps taken by Shane Brian Kelly to address the positive test result.

The Appeals Body complimented Mr Kelly on these steps and were impressed at the support given to him by both Michael O’Callaghan and Keith Hartnett. They accepted that he was making a genuine effort to deal with the matter and acknowledged his honesty.

In view of the above, the Appeals Body deferred a decision on the appeal and agreed to reconvene to re-consider the matter on Tuesday 17th May 2016. In the meantime they asked that the random testing programme continue.

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co Kildare. Shane Brian Kelly was represented by Andrew Coonan, Coonan Cawley Solicitors, Naas, Co Kildare.