Trainer Darren Weir holds up the Cup after Jockey John Allen rode Kiwia to win the Ballarat Cup.
Trainer Darren Weir holds up the Cup after Jockey John Allen rode Kiwia to win the Ballarat Cup.

Melbourne Cup trainer charged with ‘torturing’ horses

Former champion trainer Darren Weir has been charged by Victoria Police over alleged animal cruelty and conspiracy offences.

Weir has been under investigation by police since three electronic jiggers - devices used to electronically shock horses - were found in a bedroom of his Ballarat home in January.

Weir and two other men - fellow trainer Jarrod McLean and former Weir employee Tyson Kermond - were arrested and released without charge following the January 29 raids.

The Herald Sun understands the alleged case against Weir and others will start with filing hearing at Melbourne Magistrates Court on October 23.

Weir was disqualified for four years by Racing Victoria in February.

Weir virtually walked away from racing as his training empire - one of the biggest of the world - crumbled.

He was banned the following week and his vast network of stables were sold off within days as a host of champion horses shifted to new trainers.

The Melbourne Cup-winning handler has been interviewed at length by police investigating allegations relating to the corruption of races and animal cruelty.

Darren Weir has been charged by police. Picture: AAP
Darren Weir has been charged by police. Picture: AAP

The raids were part of an investigation which had been underway since August, 2018.

Properties connected to Weir in Warrnambool were also raided.

Another jigger was allegedly found at a location used by Weir's former assistant trainer Jarrod McLean.

McLean and Kermond were arrested and interviewed before being released without charge.

McLean is still in the process of answering charges over a jigger found at a Yangery property, near Warrnambool.

Police have since interviewed Weir and his former associations on multiple occasions.

Photographic evidence is believed to have been presented to Weir during the course of those interviews amid suggestions horses had been hit with the jiggers while exercising on treadmills.

The Herald Sun believes cameras were secretly planted in Weir's Ballarat stables.

Images from those cameras are known to be central to the police case against Weir.

Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence unit has interviewed Weir and McLean on several occasions, following multiple lines of inquiry.

The unit is probing activity including obtaining financial advantage by deception and engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event or event contingency.

Police are believed to have used recording devices such as cameras and phone taps during the investigation.

Several races from last year are under scrutiny.

The Mackinnon Stakes and Grand National Hurdle, which were won by McLean-trained Trap For Fools and Cougar Express, respectively, are also known to have drawn the attention of authorities.

The Sandown Cup, won by Weir-trained Yogi, is another race under the microscope.

 

 

 

Weir, 49, was today issued with nine charges including:

· Conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria Limited Stewards;

· Section 9(1)(a) of Prevention Cruelty to Animals Act - engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a Thoroughbred Race Horse x 3;

· Section 9(1)(c) of Prevention Cruelty to Animals Act - causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a Thoroughbred Race Horse x 3;

· Possess Unregistered Category A longarm.

· Use controlled weapon without excuse.

Three other men were also charged, including a 39-year-old Yangery man, who faces 16 charges including:

· Conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria Limited Stewards;

· 195C Engage in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency x 2;

· 195F Use of Corrupt Conduct Information x 5;

· Section 9(1)(a) of Prevention Cruelty to Animals Act - engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a Thoroughbred Race Horse x 3;

· Section 9(1)(c) of Prevention Cruelty to Animals Act- causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a Thoroughbred Race Horse x 3; and

· Possess Drug of Dependence (Cocaine).

A 27-year-old Warrnambool man has been issued seven charges including:

· Conspiracy to Defraud Racing Victoria Limited Stewards;

· Section 9(1)(a) of Prevention Cruelty to Animals Act - engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a Thoroughbred Race Horse

x 3; and

· Section 9(1)(c) of Prevention Cruelty to Animals Act - causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a Thoroughbred Race Horse x 3.

A 31-year-old Warrnambool man has been charged with one count of 195F Use of Corrupt Conduct Information.

All four will appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on 23 October.


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