RACING NSW wants changes to the Thoroughbred Racing Act to provide more powers to compel witnesses

RACING NSW wants changes to the Thoroughbred Racing Act to provide more powers to compel witnesses to give evidence at stewards inquiries, reports the Daily Telegraph.

It says: The controversial More Joyous hearings - which some witnesses initially refused to attend and another did not reveal all he knew - prompted Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys to look at ways to increase the authority of stewards.

"We are trying to get more powers to run these inquiries better," Mr V'landys said. "What has been clear at this inquiry is that witnesses did not have to turn up and give evidence. We want the power to compel people to come to inquiries and give truthful evidence.

"If they don't they should be sanctioned in some way, either criminally or in other courts."The no-show of NRL great Andrew Johns, brothel owner Eddie Hayson and former jockey Allan Robinson at the original May 7 hearing forced stewards to schedule another hearing for last Monday.


This time, all three did appear and were cross-examined. Then Mr Robinson returned after an adjournment and announced he wanted to "tell the truth" about the affair, but only with Mr Hayson and Mr Johns present.

Mr Robinson then chose not to give any further testimony and promptly left the inquiry.

Although stewards were satisfied that enough evidence had been obtained to move on with the investigation, Mr Robinson's decision not to provide further evidence did highlight the need for stewards to have greater powers.

Racing Minister George Souris said the government "will give due consideration to a request for help from Racing NSW once the (More Joyous) inquiry has been completed".

"The most important issue, with which everyone agrees, is that the community ex- pects that racing will be conducted with integrity," Mr Souris said.

Mr Souris said the Thoroughbred Racing Act 1996, which makes provision for the management and functions of Racing NSW, is up for its latest five-year review from July 1.