Mr Justice Forbes said today that Australian horse race expert Mr Murrihy in his witness statement had been critical of the riding in 13 of the races and that there was a prima facie case against the jockeys. However, he added:
Remarkably, it was only in cross-examination that the very significant limitations and shortcomings in the evidence he was able to give became clear.
In court, Mr Murrihy had said ‘-it was not incumbent that I verse myself in UK or other jurisdiction rules’-.
Mr Murrihy also said in evidence:
I have not said I was an expert in respect of UK races.
The judge said in his ruling today:
This is an extraordinary admission given that he was purporting to give evidence about 27 races run in the UK according to UK racing rules…-. In my opinion, that was tantamount to Mr Murrihy disqualifying himself in giving evidence in relation to the suspect races. In my opinion it is now clear that Mr Murrihy’-s evidence was subject to a number of significant limitations and shortcomings which were not evident from his witness statements and his evidence in chief. It is abundantly clear that his evidence fell far, far short of establishing a prima facie breach of UK racing rules. I have reached the conclusion that even if it was appropriate to admit Mr Murrihy’-s expert opinion, its probative value is so limited that very little value can be attached to it.
The judge said there was insufficient evidence on which a jury could conclude that the jockeys, and therefore all the defendants, were guilty.
The British Horseracing Authority said after the case:
The restrictions placed on the three jockeys involved in the proceedings expired at the conclusion of the proceedings. Kieren Fallon, who is licensed by the Irish Turf Club, is therefore able to ride in Great Britain, and Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams are able to re-apply for their jockey licences.
Fallon’-s spokesman immediately called for two inquiries into the case – one into the police testimony, the other into why the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) proceeded with the trial. He estimated the trial cost taxpayers ?10m.
Fallon, 41, from County Clare, Ireland, and two other jockeys, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, were charged with conspiracy to defraud customers of Betfair, the world’-s biggest online gambling service. The former owner and racing syndicate director, Miles Rodgers, was also charged with conspiracy to defraud and with an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
[External Link: BBC News]