On 4th of April 2019 the Independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry into allegations that Mr Lee was in breach of Regulation 115(iv) (Equipment) of the BHA Regulations for Point-to-Point Steeple Chases and also of Regulation 170(v) (General) of the BHA Regulations for Point-to-Point Steeple Chases.
Both allegations arise out of events at the Heythrop Hunt Point-to-Point held at Cocklebarrow on 27th of January 2019 and concern Mr Lee, who was riding a horse called KALINITE (IRE). In relation to the alleged breach of Regulation 115(iv) (Equipment) it was contended that Mr Lee failed to wear the required Level 2 body protector whilst riding KALINITE (IRE) in the Carter Jonas Restricted Race and in relation to the alleged breach of Regulation 170(v) (General) it was alleged that Mr Lee deliberately misled an Official by failing to change his body protector to a Level 2 before riding in the said race, as instructed by the Clerk of the Scales after the latter noticed that Mr Lee was wearing an unacceptable Level 1 body protector when weighing out.
The BHA was represented by Mr Lyn Williams. For his part, Mr Lee failed to attend the hearing. He was contacted by telephone by Mr Lyn Williams during the morning and Mr Lee indicated that he had overslept, after working during the night, and that he had missed his train. He was asked to get a later train but he failed to do so. In a further telephone call Mr Williams established that Mr Lee was very keen for the hearing to be conducted by telephone and that Mr Lee was, to say the least, highly unlikely to attend the BHA offices. Accordingly, the Panel decided that it would be appropriate for the hearing to be conducted by telephone. Further to that decision a telephone hearing was set up and the Panel established that Mr Lee was content to proceed on that basis. Mr Lee told the Panel that he was speaking from his place of work at Kingham. Since Mr Lee was unrepresented the Panel took some care to confirm that Mr Lee had received the documentation which had been sent to him by the BHA, in particular the statement of Malcolm Dickins (the Clerk of the Scales) and the Stewards' Report Form. The Panel then took Mr Lee carefully and slowly through the two alleged breaches and it was ascertained that Mr Lee admitted both breaches.
Mr Lee did not object to the constitution of the Panel.
On 27th of January 2019 Mr Lee, an amateur jockey, rode a horse called KALINITE (IRE) in the Carter Jonas Restricted Race at a meeting of the Heythrop Hunt Point-to-Point held at Cocklebarrow. When Mr Lee went to weigh out Mr Malcolm Dickins, the Clerk of the Scales, noticed that he was wearing a Level 1 body protector. Under Rules in force at the
time (and indeed, now) the minimum acceptable standard for a body protector was (and is) Level 2. Mr Dickins told Mr Lee he was not allowed to ride in a Level 1 body protector and Mr Lee replied "Yes I know". Mr Lee returned to the changing room. Shortly afterwards Mr Dickins went to check the situation and observed that Mr Lee was sitting on the floor having taken off his Level 1 body protector. Mr Dickins made the reasonable assumption that Mr Lee was in the process of donning a Level 2 protector. Mr Dickins said in his witness statement that he went back to the scales "trusting him that he was changing it". The race commenced and at some point Mr Lee was unseated from KALINITE (IRE) and he was examined by a Medical Officer who discovered during the examination that Mr Lee was wearing a Level 1 body protector. This was a clear breach of Regulation 115(iv) (Equipment) of the BHA Regulations for Point-to-Point Steeple Chases. It was clear to the Panel that by taking off his Level 1 body protector in the changing room before the race he had deceived Mr Dickins, when the latter checked upon Mr Lee, into believing that he was about to put on a Level 2 body protector. In the event, and upon Mr Dickins leaving the changing room after his inspection, Mr Lee put back on his Level 1 body protector and rode in the race. This amounted to a breach of Regulation 170(v) (General) of the BHA Regulations for Point-to-Point Steeple Chases. As indicated above Mr Lee readily accepted these breaches.
At a subsequent raceday Enquiry the Stewards asked Mr Lee if he had worn his Level 1 body protector and he admitted that he had and that he had been doing so all season and he had been "getting away with it". It was pointed out to Mr Lee that he was uninsured when wearing a Level 1 body protector. The raceday Stewards felt that their powers of punishment were insufficient "for his behaviour and blatant disregard of the Rules". Subsequent enquiries revealed that Mr Lee had had 10 rides prior to the ride on KALINITE (IRE) during the season. He admitted to the Panel at the hearing that he had worn a Level 1 body protector on all those rides.
The Panel took the view that this was a serious case. It not only involved a deliberate and planned breach of Regulation 115(iv) (Equipment) but also a calculated and wilful deception of the Clerk of the Scales, Mr Dickins. The breach of Regulation 115(iv) (Equipment) was exacerbated by Mr Lee's admission that he had been doing this all season and getting away with it in relation to his 10 previous rides. The only mitigation was the admission of guilt and all appropriate credit is given in relation thereto.
In all the circumstances, and bearing in mind the points made by both sides, the appropriate penalty in the view of the Panel is:-
a. Breach of Regulation 115(iv) (Equipment) : Suspension for 10 days
b. Breach of Regulation 170(v) (General): Suspension for 35 days
The above suspensions are ordered to run concurrently from 12th of April 2019 and will apply to all Point-to-Point fixtures and all Hunter Chases under Rules.