Disgraced trainer Darren Weir has appeared in a Melbourne court. Picture: AAP
Disgraced trainer Darren Weir has appeared in a Melbourne court. Picture: AAP

Small win for Weir in animal cruelty case

LAWYERS for Darren Weir and three co-accused racing figures have successfully applied to have conspiracy and animal cruelty charges heard in Ballarat.

Weir, Jarrod McLean and former jockey William Hernan appeared before Magistrate Leighfield in a County Court sitting of the Melbourne Magistrates Court, while Kermond is interstate on honeymoon.

The court ruled a committal mention will be held in the Ballarat Magistrates Court on March 5, with a two-day trial scheduled to start on June 23.

Tony Hargreaves, acting for Weir, successfully argued the allegations should be heard in Ballarat because it was the closest court to Weir's residence.

The application was opposed by prosecutors, but eventually granted.

Weir said only "no worries, thank you" when the scheduled proceedings were explained to him.

Weir, McLean and Kermond are charged with "torturing, over-working, abusing and terrifying" horses by allegedly striking them with a conducted energy devices while the animals worked - blinkered - on treadmills.

The charges relate to an allegedly "illicit covert training regime" designed to deceive Racing Victoria stewards, according to court documents.

It is alleged two prominent horses - Red Cardinal and Yogi - were struck by McLean with poly pipes and electrical devices during the 2018 Melbourne spring carnival.

The alleged practice was uncovered by covert police cameras.

An application by the Herald Sun to access the footage was denied.

William Hernan and Jarrod McLean arrive at the County Court of Victoria on Friday.
William Hernan and Jarrod McLean arrive at the County Court of Victoria on Friday.

Weir, McLean and Kermond are charged with using shock devices to torture, abuse, terrify and overwork Red Cardinal, Yogi and another horse, Tosen Basil, at Warrnambool on October 30, 2018.

The trio is also accused of conspiring to cheat and defraud Racing Victoria stewards between October 24 and November 17, 2018.

It is alleged that McLean laid corrupt bets during the spring racing carnival including a $100 each-way punt on Red Cardinal in the Melbourne Cup, according to the documents.

Hernan faces one charge of putting a $50 bet on Yogi during a race on November 2 in a bid to win $600, allegedly using information McLean passed to him about the illegal training regime.

The four men face a total of 34 charges. They are expected to contest the charges.

Weir also faces firearm charges, while McLean has been charged possession of "a drug of dependence" (cocaine).

McLean, Kermond and Hernan are due to appear before the Victorian Racing Tribunal later this month to answer charges relating to the January 30, 2019 stable raids at Warrnambool and Ballarat.



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