Punishment discussion against jockey Ruby Dunn

The bullying scandal surrounding Irish jockey Robbie Dunn has been causing an uproar in British horse racing for months. The regulator, the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) and its independent complaints board, continue to disagree about the appropriate punishment for Denn. This is how the BHA reacted critically to the final Dunne case report that the Chamber published yesterday.

In this, the Chamber justifies why it reduced Dunn’s 18-month suspension imposed by federal health law in December by eight months. The Chamber considers that the allegations against Dunn of bullying, sexism, insults and threats of violence made by Joket Bryony Frost are sufficiently substantiated. However, there are a number of reassuring factors that would justify reducing the sentences.

Dunn (center) admitted insulting Frost but dismissed it as “joking”. (Photo: Shutterstock, photo from 2018)

Seven incidents are considered proven

In its report, the Appeals Board lists a total of seven incidents under the heading “Facts”, which are considered substantiated on the basis of various testimonies and evidence. The “bullying period” spans from 2017 to 2020. However, in the Chamber’s view, incidents should not be punished as individual crimes as they all violate sub-points of Rule (j) 19 of BiH law.

  • The first incident occurred in 2017, and falls under the category of sexual harassment. Dunn, who only wore a towel in the weight room, is said to have cracked it open and then “shaken himself”. Found this amusing.
  • In February 2020, during a race in Leicester, Dunn intentionally jumped his horse Lickpenny Larry to the left when Frost and her horse jumped to his left. The Authority and the Chamber describe this as “deliberate intimidation”.
  • On April 4, 2020, Dunn created a Twitter post making fun of the way Frost does her post-race interviews. Just before the Virtual Grand National, where the horse “Yala Enki actually rode Frost,” he wrote, “If Yala Enki won this cartoon race, would the interview be as unrealistic as it is in real life?”
  • At a race in Stratford on July 8, 2020, Dunn insulted his teammate in front of witnesses with totally unacceptable and misogynistic insults. A video recording shows Dunn running toward Frost “with a sly facial expression and fingers raised”.
  • As a video recording of a race on July 27, 2020 at Market Rasen racetrack shows, Dunn deliberately rode his horse in such a way that Frost and her horse were pushed onto the guardrail.
  • Before racing in the Autokester in August 2020, Frost asked Dunn to pass him inside with her young racehorse, Flintrock. He refused and threatened to force her off the track again.
  • The latest incident occurred on September 3, 2020 in Southwell and was the main reason for Frost’s final complaint to the BHA. After Frost wins the race and Dunn’s racehorse dies, he threatens her with violence. He said, “Next time I ride with you, I’ll make you fly across the fence […] I promise next time I will hurt you.”

As the Chamber made clear in its report, accidents are in no way acceptable. The 18-month ban is still too high, as it would mean the end of Dunn’s career. There are also a number of compelling factors.

Dunn’s last verbal attack on Frost can be categorized as an “impulsive reaction” to the “recent loss of his racehorse”. For this, as well as other incidents, Dunn tried to apologize to Frost. However, they opposed arbitration.

Another aspect is that Dunn has already been punished by negative reports about him and his behaviour. The Chamber says that while the events took place “in private,” the sessions and results were public. Den has also grabbed negative headlines at SkySports since December [Folgendes Video auf Englisch]

BHA announces room review

The BHA responded to the Chamber’s report with a statement last night. Accordingly, the authority still considered the original 18-month suspension to be appropriate, but it “accepted” the reduction by the Board. However, the BHA also has criticisms made by a Racing Post journalist [Seite auf Englisch] for the “Voice and Management” session.

Lee Mottershead described the poll at the end of March as “a spectacle that could have been more fitting in a gentlemen’s members club in London”. The language used by the men who presided over the session was at times “unprofessional” and “suspicious, and contained very subtle sexual innuendos”.

Accordingly, the BHA announced an examination of the Appeals Board structures. The authority indicates that the room may not be staffed in time:

The BHA believes that such bodies should not only have the appropriate legal knowledge and experience, but also be appropriately diverse and comprehensive at all times.”

It remains to be seen whether the British Health Association, for example, can introduce a women’s quota in its separate rooms in the future. However, the authority stresses that it will continue to work to ensure that everyone feels safe and supported within horse racing.

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