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BOARD OF APPEAL OF THE MAURITIUS TURF CLUB Inthe matter of: Shirish NARANG Appellant Versus MAURITIUS TURF CLUB Respondent DECISION Background 1. The present Board sits as a newly constituted Board, following a challenge by the Appellant on the composition of the previously appointed Board in this same matter. 2. The Appellant, a trainer appointed and licensed by the Rules of Racing appeals the decision of the Racing Stewards which was delivered on the 31* July 2017. Following a non-race day blood ‘sampling exercise held on the 19" October 2016 by the Respondent at its premises in Floréal the Centre Guy Desmarais, an illicit substance namely Human Recombinant Erythropoietin (hereinafter “EPO") was detected in equine blood of one of the horses from the Appellant's stables, horse “Gameloft” 3. The foremost detection of EPO was found in what is referred to as Blood Sample A of horse Gameloft. The Certificate of Analysis issued from designated laboratory Quantilab dated 20" October 2016 led to the conduct of the inquiry by the Racing Stewards. 4. The initial Racing Stewards’ Inquiry (the First Inquiry) into the matter was concluded on the 21 December 2016. This led to a finding of guilt under Rule 208 (A) (4) of the Rules of Racing of 2016 (the relevant Rules for this matter), an extract of which is reproduced hereunder, and the Appellant was sentenced to a fine of MUR 250,000. Rule 208 A (4) Notwithstanding subsection 3 (ii) when a sample taken at any time from a horse under the responsibility of a licensed trainer, after analysis is found to contain an illicit substance, the trainer and any other person in charge of such horse at the relevant time shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to any of the penalties set out in Rule 11 (d) unless that person can prove to the satisfaction of the Racing Stewards that he had, at all times, taken all reasonable ond permissible measures to prevent the administration of such illicit substance to the horse. 10. ML. 12, The Appellant appealed against the decision to the Board of Appeal. On a preliminary point, the Board in a decision dated 25" April 2017 set aside the Racing Stewards’ finding and ordered an inquiry de novo (the De Novo Inquiry) into the present matter. The De Novo Inquiry was held before a newly constituted panel of Stewards. The Stewards concluded that the Appellant was guilty. This time though, on the same charge under Rule 208 (A) (4) of the Rules of Racing, the Racing Stewards sentenced the Appellant to disqualification for a period of 12 months. It is this decision that is the subject of the present appeal. The present appeal contains 28 Grounds of Appeal. We observe that not all of the grounds are felicitously drafted. We also note that some of the grounds in fact deal with the same or similar issues. As a matter of practice, we recommend that each ground of appeal should be succinct, precise, specifically couched and addressed on its own. In an effort to avoid double dealing in our treatment of the issues raised by the Appellant, we have regrouped some of the Grounds of Appeal. Ground 1: Transcript It is apposite to note that even at the level of our court of justice which is one of record, the judges will intervene only if the proceedings are so unintelligible so as to affect the fairness of the trial that it leads to a miscarriage of justice. ‘True, it is accepted the Appellant has guided us to extracts in the proceedings where there are inaccuracies such as typographical mistakes or some incompleteness as regards the translation of parts of testimonial evidence by witnesses. However, these inaccuracies in our view, do not affect the overall substance and Integrity of the, evidence that constitutes the proceedings before this Board of Appeal. We thus consider the proceedings to be globally accurate. We therefore dismiss Ground 1. Grounds 2-3: Unfair inquiry and hearing We consider Grounds 2 and 3 together as they deal with the Appellant's proposition that there hhas been an unfair inquiry and hearing conducted by the Board of Racing Stewards, particularly its Chairperson. The contention of the Appellant is that he has not received fair, independent ‘and impartial treatment on the ground that basic rules of evidence were ignored and that the Chairperson recurrently stated: “we are not in a court of law”. 14, 15. 16. 17. 18. It is at this stage, enlightening to refer to the cases of: 14.1, Poul Foo Kune v The Mauritius Turf Club [2003] SCI 1 which lists the characteristics that have been considered by the Supreme Court where the proposition is that the conduct of the inquiry by the Respondent, has resulted in an unfair hearing, The judgment of Justice R.N Narayen deals with the question of procedural fairness and bias as follows: “There are no hard and fast rules with regard to procedural fairness. When determining whether the rules of natural justice have been respected by a domestic tribunal, the court must take into account: (1) the character of the decision making body; (2) the kind of decision it has to make; (3) the statutory or other frame work in which it operates; and (4) the requirements of fair hearing; ie. the rule against bias, the duty to give the person concerned notice of the charge and a reasonable opportunity of being heard.” 14.2. Lloyd v Memahon [1987] A.C 652 at para 702; Lee v Showmen’s Guild [1952] 2 QB 239; Murray v Anderson [1990 MR 99] and G. Gujadhur v The Mauritius Turf Club [2000] SCJ 327, have all been retained as relevant authorities on the question of fairness and bias. Russell v Duke of Norfolk [1949] 1 All E.R 109; holds its relevance in the present case “., there are in my view, no words which are of universal application in every kind of domestic tribunal... whatever the standard is adopted, one essential is that the person concerned should have a reasonable opportunity of resenting his case.” ‘Moreover, the transcript of the De Novo Inquiry shows several instances where the Appellant ‘was allowed to make his own viva voce representations in proceedings over and above the legal representation he already had Finally, it is unclear how the recurring statement of the Chair of the Racing Stewards that “we ‘re not in a court of law” could have resulted in an unfair hearing, We conclude that Grounds 2 and 3 have no merits. Grounds 4-6: Likelihood of perception of bias There are two underlying factual aspects in support of the Appeliant’s challenge under these two grounds: a) Unfettered access to the “folder” of the First Inquiry; and b) Discussion/interaction with two witnesses outside the realm of the De Novo Inquiry.