|South African jockey Robbie Fradd was acquitted in Hong Kong District Court on Thursday of any wrongdoing related to a race on January 16 at Happy Valley racecourse. |
The Independent Commission Against Corruption had accused Fradd of winning money for himself or others by holding back his horse, Winning Dragon, and preventing him from running to the best of his ability. The commission and Jockey Club formally charged Fradd with cheating at gambling.
District Court Judge Colin Mackintosh called Fraddís reasoning 'unbelievable,' but maintained that the prosecution did not have enough 'direct evidence' to convict Fradd.
'The only evidence of Mr. Fradd pulling a horse came in the form of opinion evidence by an expert witness from New Zealand,' said Timothy McNally, Hong Kong Jockey Club executive director of security and corporate legal services. 'There was no evidence of a conspiracy; there were no incriminating conversations produced; there were no physical surveillance logs or observations of suspect parties presented; there were no telephone logs implicating suspect relationships; no receipts or financial records introduced. The only evidence of criminal activity afoot was opinion evidence from a former stipendiary steward, who acknowledged he had no prior experience or direct knowledge of Hong Kong racing.'
Irish jockey John Egan also faces charges in Hong Kong. Egan was arrested in February along with Fradd, but whereas Fradd returned to face his charges, Egan has not. Hong Kong officials are considering whether to seek Eganís extradition.