Racehorse trainer Darren Weir fined $36k after pleading guilty to animal abuse charges

Disqualified Victorian-era racehorse trainer Darren Weir, his former assistant trainer Jarrod McLean and stablekeeper Tyson Carmond were convicted of animal cruelty.

Weir, McLean and Carmond appeared at Warrnambool Magistrates Court this afternoon.

Attorneys for each of the three men filed three counts of animal cruelty (abuse) pleas on behalf of their clients.

Police claimed the men beat three racehorses – Red Cardinal, Yogi and Torsen Basil. A small taser-like device known as Jigger.

The use or possession of jiggers is prohibited in horse racing.

A 15-minute CCTV replay on 30 October 2018 in court showed Weir and his accomplice using jiggers on all three horses and moving treadmills at Weir’s Warrnambool stables. was showing.

The court said animal behavior expert Andrew McLean, who had seen the footage, likely had a detrimental effect on the welfare of the horse and could lead to behavioral disorders, including aggression. .

Weir and McLean appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Wednesday.(ABC South West Victoria: Sarah Abbott)

At the sentencing, Judge John Bowman fined Weir and McLean $36,000 each on three counts of animal cruelty.

Carmond escaped the fine, but had to donate $10,000 to the RSPCA, which must be paid by June 30, 2023.

All avoided conviction.

Judge Bowman said that in the four years since the “isolated” crime, all three men were embarrassed and had their reputations damaged.

“People have talked and talked,” said Judge Bowman.

“It’s a punishment that each of these men will carry for the rest of their lives.”

Judge Bowman said there were “no ill effects or health.” [impacts] In three horses involved … other than short-term pain”.

Prior to sentencing, prosecutor Melissa Mehadi argued that animal cruelty was moderate and that the use of jiggers caused pain and fear.

She argued that a correction order with a conviction was appropriate, but Weir and McLean’s attorneys argued that a fine should be issued without a conviction.

Carmond’s attorney argued during his submission that he should have received less punishment because his client role was subordinated to the other two men and that he had less moral responsibility.

Firearms and drug charges dismissed

Weir’s attorneys argued that his client had an impeccable reputation and that his attacks were out of character.

“These horses were not trained at an optimal level and [Weir] I thought it might help,” said Ian Hill QC.

“He was not born cruel.

“He made a mistake…and he paid a big price.”

The Red Cardinal finished last in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, while another yogi won the Sandown Cup that year.

Weir, 52, also pleaded guilty to gun possession and McLean pleaded guilty to drug addiction.

Drug charges related to cocaine were discovered during police raids on several properties owned by Weir in 2019.

During sentencing, Judge Bowman dismissed the firearms and drug charges.

In October of this year, conspiracy charges brought against Weir and McLean in connection with their conduct at the 2018 Spring Racing Carnival were dropped.

Weir and McLean pleaded not guilty to the 2020 charges and were scheduled to stand trial in Melbourne County Court last month.

Smiling man in hat and hoodie standing with his racehorse.
Weir trained with the 2015 Melbourne Cup winners Prince of Penzance. The horse was ridden by Michelle Payne.(ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky)

Horse racing ban due to termination

In 2019, Racing Victoria indicted Weir for possession of three illegal electroshock devices.

He chose not to contest the charges and was banned from the sport for four years.

The suspension is scheduled to end on February 6, 2023.

Weir famously trained the 100-1 outsider Prince Penzance to victory in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.

The court heard that Weir eventually wants to return to racing.

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