Sport Racing Court clears way for Vic trainer to face doping charges

Court clears way for Vic trainer to face doping charges

darren weir banned
Darren Weir (right) and Jarrod McLean arrive at Racing Victoria in January 2019. headquarters for a hearing on Monday. Photo: Getty
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Racing authorities will be free to charge trainer Jarrod McLean with horse doping offences after he lost a court bid to keep evidence from a police raid on his Victorian stables secret.

McLean had claimed Victoria Police acted unlawfully when it gave Racing Victoria information about items seized during the January 30 raid at Yangery, near Warrnambool.

The former assistant to suspended Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir failed in his Supreme Court bid to stop the industry body charging him with further offences based on evidence seized in the raid, or relying on it in any disciplinary proceedings.

Justice Melinda Richards on Friday determined police acted lawfully and Racing Victoria could use the information.

But it will not be able to do so until next Friday, when an extended confidentiality order around the seized documents expires.

Court documents show Racing Victoria sought to charge McLean with the serious racing offences of administering a prohibited substance and refusing or failing to give evidence to stewards.

Jiggers have been part of racing’s dark side almost since the invention of batteries, as this Truth headline from 1926 attests. Image: Trove online archive

Racing authorities opened a fresh inquiry after police handed over new information in August.

McLean was charged by the racing body in February with the possession of an electrical apparatus, known as a jigger, capable of affecting the performance of a horse, and with conduct prejudicial to racing.

Police last week also charged McLean and Weir with animal cruelty offences and conspiracy to defraud racing stewards.

The 38-year-old McLean is due to face court next week on 16 charges, including cocaine possession. Weir and two other men are also due to appear.

Weir, 49, was in February banned from racing for four years following the discovery of three jiggers in his bedroom.

McLean had been in charge of Weir’s Warrnambool stables, and will remain suspended from racing until the criminal charges against him are finalised in court.

In a statement, Racing Victoria said it would comply with the orders preventing it from using or relying on information received from Victoria Police in relation to McLean before October 25.