SA Jock’s Singapore Suspension – ‘Miscarriage Of Justice’

Failure to adhere to the presumption of innocence

The JP van der Merwe suspension of 12 months handed down by the Singapore authorities on Wednesday has elicited reaction of mostly shock by various South African experts.

Jay August wrote on the Sporting Post comments platform that he has seen this type of ride numerous times in South Africa without even a mention being made.

“Question for Mr Bloomberg who appears to have a firm grip on what constitutes fairness in such circumstances – what would be a fair penalty for the ride of JP vd Merwe?” asks Jay.

JP van der Merwe – harsh decision by Stipes

We put it to Robert Bloomberg, who responded as follows:

In my professional opinion this is a gross and alarming miscarriage of justice.

The only ‘fair penalty’ is a finding of ‘not guilty’ and complete vindication.

I have been in discussions with JP who is understandably distraught and who will be lodging an Appeal.

Remember, he has been charged with our equivalent of the ‘pulling up’ rule which as per the Singapore Turf Club press release states that “he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that his horse was given a full opportunity of winning or of obtaining the best possible placing.”

As he finished 2nd, the only question to be asked – and that is of course on the basis that there was wrongdoing on his part, which is vehemently denied – is whether he could have beaten the winner?

As the winner won easing up by around 2 lengths, the answer must be an emphatic NO!

I have sent the video of the race to a few chief stipendiary stewards globally and all concur that there was no wrongdoing, and that JP could definitively not have won. That should by rights have been the end of the matter, but sadly not.

Watch the ride here:

What is also most alarming is the failure to adhere to the presumption of innocence and that he has been suspended with immediate effect.

The chances are that an Appeal will only be heard in 6 to 8 weeks so if he happens to be exonerated, are they going to compensate him for the period when he was barred from riding. I think not!

They also claim that they took “his record and personal circumstances into account.” Really? He has a clean record there spanning nearly 3 years and the financial implications of a 1-year suspension based on his average earnings over the past year is R2 million, hardly a case of the punishment fitting the crime.

I’m led to believe that the chief stipe there is an Australian, John Davidson. He is the same guy who disqualified Joseph See for 2-years and fined him SG$50,000.

Stipendiary Stewards remind me of professional rugby referees. There is never any accountability for their actions when they err.

Pat Cosgrave

When Pat Cosgrave was suspended in Dubai for 4-months in 2014, the BHA commendably refused to uphold the ban.

If JP fails on Appeal, will the NHA here have the courage to echo this decision, or will they enforce the outrageous 1-year ban, even though they know that both the conviction and the penalty are manifestly flawed?

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