VICTORIAN thoroughbred trainer Mark Riley has been given a reprieve to continue training despite being found guilty of assaulting a jockey with a piece of wood last month.
Riley faced the Victorian Racing and Disciplinary Board that heard he assaulted jockey Jack Dunne as a result of that person issuing a death threat to his (Riley’s) daughter.
The trainer’s actions were brought on by Dunne’s alleged death threat aimed at the trainer’s daughter Jessica.
The RADB heard that Riley had accosted Dunne during trackwork at Mornington on May 13 where the trainer beat the jockey with a piece of wood and also punched and kicked him.
Riley was found guilty of assault and improper behavior and subsequently had his trainer’s licence suspended for four months but the sentence was suspended for 12 months.
In determining its decision the RADB’s Judge Russell Lewis stated it considered Riley’s contrition, the absence of prior violence charges, the absence of injury to Dunne and the significant provocation leading to the assault before delivering its findings.
Extracts from today’s Herald Sun article by Rod Nicholson revealed the trainer’s daughter Jessica lived with jockey Dunne for five years during which time they had produced a daughter with another child to Dunne on the way.
Riley told the hearing that he was upset that Dunne had sent his daughter a text message saying he would kill her and then sneaked into her home two days prior to Riley’s assault on Dunne.
Riley’s lawyer Patrick Wheelahan said his client “was under severe provocation.”
“This was not premeditated. He was overcome by emotion,” he said.
When assaulted by Riley, Dunne was in full riding gear including helmet and vest. Dunne was unharmed and he resumed riding trackwork following the incident.
“This is an example of a serious assault but the provocation must be taken into account,” Judge Lewis said.