On 29th April 2013 the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry involving James Clutterbuck, a licensed individual and assistant trainer.
James Clutterbuck had been charged with a breach of Rule (A)41.2 in that he conspired with Neil Clement and/or other persons to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice by providing inside information and Rule (A)36.1 in providing that same inside information to account holders on betting exchanges for reward. A link to the full notice of charges is included in the Notes to Editors.
This formed part of a wider investigation in which charges are being brought against registered owner Neil Clement, licensed jockey Eddie Ahern and three others. However, at the outset of this hearing Mr Clutterbuck entered a guilty plea on a factual basis which was accepted by the BHA. As such his case was heard separately. The result and reasons of this wider case will follow in due course.
There follows the Disciplinary Panel's findings regarding James Clutterbuck:
At the outset of the hearing of this enquiry on 29th April 2013, Mr James Clutterbuck, assistant trainer to Ken Clutterbuck, admitted both of the allegations of breach of the Rules of Racing made against him, these allegations were:-
i) breach of Rule (A)41.2 – a conspiracy with Neil Clement and others to commit a corrupt practice by providing inside information to him (and them) about the race prospects for his horse (of which he was also assistant trainer) STONEACRE GARETH (IRE), at Lingfield on 9th March 2011;
ii) breaching Rule (A)36.1 – providing that same inside information to account holders on betting exchanges for reward.
2. The basis upon which those admissions were made was described in a document signed by Mr Clutterbuck. The BHA’s counsel, Mr Louis Weston, was content to deal with the case on the basis outlined and the Panel too was satisfied from its pre-reading of the enquiry papers that this was a realistic approach. The only aspect of the factual allegations which Mr Clutterbuck faced, but which he continued to deny, was the allegation that he supplied inside information directly to persons other than Mr Clement.
3. Mr Clutterbuck put these admissions in context. He said that he was often plagued by calls from Mr Clement in which he sought racing related information. Indeed, telephone records showed that nearly all of the calls between them on 8th and 9th March 2011, lasting a total of 24 minutes, were initiated by Mr Clement. Mr Clutterbuck was not specific about what he told Mr Clement, but accepted that he told him that STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) would not be able to run to form, and that he recognised that this could support a lay bet, even though he regarded Mr Clement as a backer usually. He did this, he said, in the hope that Mr Clement might place a horse with him for training.
4. The Panel recognised (as submitted by Mr Clutterbuck’s counsel, Mr Gideon Cammerman) that they were dealing with a one-off case in which Mr Clutterbuck was not the instigator of the corrupt plan, and for which he was not taking a cut of the hoped-for profits. But against that, the Panel set the fact that he had told a number of lies when interviewed by the BHA. Also, he had continued to be positively untruthful about his part as recently as 12th April 2013 when he signed a witness statement to be put before the Panel in this enquiry. Hence the Panel concluded that this history merited in principle a disqualification of three years, the entry point indicated by the Guide to Procedures and Penalties 2013.
5. To that penalty the Panel decided to make a reduction in recognition of the admission of guilt by Mr Clutterbuck. The Guide indicates a reduction of up to one third in cases where a prompt admission is made after charges are brought. Here, the admission came much later. While it was being discussed between the BHA and Mr Clutterbuck in the week before the main hearing began on 29th April, it was not formalised and disclosed to the Panel until that date. Hence a 1/6th reduction only was appropriate.
6. As the breach of Rule (A)36.1 consisted essentially of the same wrongdoing as the Rule (A)41.2 breach, no separate penalty was imposed.
7. Mr Clutterbuck was accordingly disqualified for 30 months from 29th April 2013 until 28th October 2015 inclusive.