Jim Best case to be reheard after ‘appearance of bias’

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  • Racehorse trainer Jim Best will have his case reheard by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary panel.

    The trainer was disqualified for four years on 4 April after Echo Brava and Missile Man failed to be placed in races at Plumpton and Towcester last December.

    A rehearing was ordered by the BHA appeal board after it came to light that the chair of the board, Matthew Lohn, had undertaken paid legal work for the BHA.

    This was between February 2014 and October 2015, with invoices totaling over £50,000.

    “While there was no suggestion of any actual bias in this case, the BHA now accepts that it was an error not to disclose details of Mr Lohn’s other paid work,” said a BHA statement.

    Following the publication on 1 June of the appeal board’s written reasons for Mr Best’s rehearing, the BHA revealed it will be reviewing its disciplinary panel, appeal board and licensing committee.

    Christopher Quinlan QC, an independent expert in sports governance and regulation, will lead the review. The findings will be delivered in September.

    The BHA has defended its disciplinary process, but said it is “determined to learn lessons” from this case.

    “During this period, we will not engage any disciplinary panel member who has had paid work with the BHA outside of their engagements on the panel or directly related matters,” said a BHA spokesman.

    “We can confirm that, with the exception of Mr Lohn, no other member of the disciplinary panel has received payment from the BHA for work that was not related to their role as a disciplinary panel member.”

    Ian Mill QC will also carry out a review of all cases in which Mr Lohn sat as a panel member since October 2013, which was the first time he was asked to give separate advice to the BHA.

    “The issues that have been raised in connection with our disciplinary processes primarily concern perceptions of fairness and the appearance of bias,” said BHA chief executive Nick Rust.

    “There have been no suggestions of actual bias against the disciplinary panel or its individual members.”

    He added the organisation is “committed” to publishing a full statement on the circumstances that led to the need for a rehearing of Mr Best’s case once it has concluded.

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