Saturday 25 March 2017

Long-running Vinnie Jones greyhound case settled at High Court

Tom Tuite

A LEGAL action over a failed drug test on a winning greyhound part owned by actor and former professional footballer Vinnie Jones was settled in the High Court today.

Mr Jones is a member of a three-man syndicate which ran a greyhound called Boavista to victory in the €80,000 JP McManus Irish Cup in Limerick in February 2006.

The dog failed a drug test and an Irish Coursing Club (ICC) inquiry disqualified it. No adverse findings were made personally against Mr Jones or his fellow syndicate members, greyhound trainer Pat Curtin and bookie Denis Gould.

However, the syndicate, along with Mr Curtin's sister and greyhound handler, Bridget Curtin, sought a High Court judicial review of the ICC's decision. They claimed they were not afforded proper procedures by the ICC in relation to the inquiry and also alleged there had not been full disclosure of the allegations against them.

The ICC opposed their application as did the owner of the greyhound Wilton Time which came second, retired businessman Michael Kelleher, whose said his dog became the winner as a result of the disqualification of Boavista.

Today, David Sutton SC, for the syndicate, told High Court president, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, the case had been settled and the judge could make an order quashing a decision of the ICC inquiry committee of August 9, 2011, disqualifying Boavista.

Under the settlement terms, which were handed into court today, it was agreed between all parties to accept a decision of the ICC's executive committee made yesterday (Tuesday) to declare that there be no winner of the 2006 Irish Cup.

The Co Limerick Coursing Club is to be directed to pay the retained prize monies from that race to the owners of Wilton Time and Boavista in the proportion agreed between the syndicate and Mr Kelleher, the settlement stated.

Yesterday's decision of the ICC executive was passed in settlement of the entire proceedings with no order as to the costs of any party, it also stated.

Mr Justice Kearns said he was glad the parties had reached a resolution of what was obviously a very difficult matter.

Vinnie Jones, who was not in court, was a member of Wimbledon FC's 'Crazy Gang' team which beat Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final. He later went on to capitalise on his tough image in the game to play the role of a hard man in movies.

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