Racing Integrity Unit ordered to pay trainer Kevin Morton $13,000 in costs

Pukekohe thoroughbred trainer Kevin Morton has been awarded costs of $13,000 after his clearance on insulting language and misconduct charges.

The Judicial Control Authority’s judicial committee  dismissed the four charges brought against him by the Racing Integrity Unit after a hearing in September.

Former jockey Morton, 61, faced four charges from the RIU – two for uttering abusive and insulting language, and two alternative misconduct charges laid over a posting he made on Racecafe in January.

He had been critical of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chief executive Greg Purcell and stipendiary steward Ross Neal.

At the conclusion of the hearing JCA committee chairman Murray McKechnie invited Morton and the JCA to file for costs.

While the RIU submitted that $8000 was appropriate, McKechnie said Morton had been put to significant expense because of a prosecution that was “misguided”.

“In those circumstances a costs award somewhat greater than would otherwise have been ordered is appropriate,” he said.

The committee had determined that the criticisms and comments which Morton directed at Neal and Purcell were within permitted limits, McKechnie said.,

“The RIU originally chose not to lay any charge or charges in relation to what was said about Mr Purcell. That position was changed as a result of what was essentially an invitation by Mr Morton’s supporter Mr [Leo] Molloy to have a further charge laid. The RIU would have been wise not to have responded as it did.”

He also ordered the RIU to pay the JCA $7500 towards its costs for the hearing.

Morton was pleased to put the hearing and costs decision behind him.

“It’s time to move on,” Morton said. “I’m going to renew my trainer’s licence again now and I’ll have a couple of runners at the races in about six weeks.

“I just thought it was wrong how they did it [laid the charges] and the whole thing that surprised me was how the RIU handled it.

“The costs awarded are fair enough and now we can move on.”

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