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Posted 2021-09-30 17:02:18  
AUSSIE STEWARDS TO WEAR BODY CAMERAS

Racing Victoria will give its integrity stewards police style body cameras for their investigations in a major boost to their operations.

It comes as RV also revealed that two of its stewards, Dion Villella and Mark Stevens, will not face further punishments over their involvement in an investigation and subsequent failed charges regarding trainer Richard Laming.

The camera roll out is part of RVs response to Racing Integrity Commissioner Sean Carroll’s eight recommendations on how the sport can improve its investigations as well as its integrity department.

The new cameras will be implemented from next Thursday (October 7) and will be crucial in capturing evidence as well as direct engagement with participants. Body cameras are worn by Victoria Police and have been a key investigative tool.

“RV advised RIC that it will be enhancing its integrity processes through the introduction of body-worn cameras. RV integrity officials will commence utilising the cameras for the conduct of routine and investigative stable inspections from October 2021,” RV said on Thursday.

“RV integrity team members have been undergoing training in the new technology, which will serve to assist both stewards and participants in providing a thorough and accurate account of stable visits for consideration in any subsequent disciplinary hearings.”

In responding to Carroll’s recommendations to RV regarding the Laming investigation and its handling of Villella and Stevens, RV said its board had signed off on the punishments given to the duo.

Villella, a former senior investigator, was demoted for his role in the Laming hearing after an independent report by Carroll identified a number of crucial breaches, including he contacted Stevens on three separate occasions against Victorian Racing Tribunal orders. Both stewards were integral in investigations into allegations Laming doped his horse, Jamaican Rain. Those charges were dropped after the steward’s breaches became clear.


Carrol had asked RV to investigate whether the two stewards should face further punishment for their actions for “conduct detrimental to the interests of racing”. He also raised whether RV senior management should have conducted the investigation into Villella given there was an existing relationship.

RV on Thursday said no further action would be taken

“RV also advised RIC that the Board had considered Recommendation Two pertaining to the conduct of Stewards Dion Villella and Mark Stevens,” the statement reads.

“In doing so, the RV Board noted that the findings of fact made by RIC in his Report were consistent with the investigative work undertaken by RV in its March 2021 review of the conduct of the pair in the Laming matter.

“As a result of that review Mr Villella’s behaviour, considered in the context of his employment obligations, was deemed to amount to serious misconduct and did not reflect the standards required of an Integrity Services Department member. This finding resulted in disciplinary action.

“Following the publication of the Report, RV determined to reconsider the conduct and penalty imposed. After reconsidering all relevant information, including any impact of the conduct of Mr Villella and Mr Stevens on the interests of racing, the RV Board confirmed the appropriate framework for consideration of the conduct had been applied and the disciplinary penalty RV had previously imposed was satisfactory. It also confirmed that that RV would not take any disciplinary action in relation to Mr Stevens as a result of its reconsideration of the matter.”

RV said it continues to resolve other recommendations raised by Carroll in his report.

Racing.com

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