Levitt Robinson’s Director of Litigation Ms Chrystalla Georgiou stands up for the innocent owners and trainers in the greyhound industry in Sun-Herald article.
Natalie O’Brien reports in 8 March 2015 edition of the Sun-Herald:
“Investigating claims of the mass shooting of unwanted greyhounds will be one of the first tasks of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into the industry, as a further eight dogs have been suspended over concerns they were exposed to live baiting
Former deputy police commissioner Dave Madden has been appointed to lead the investigation team, with a new hotline established to take tip-offs about integrity and animal welfare issues.
The interim chief executive of Greyhound Racing NSW, Paul Newson, told The Sun-Herald the commission of inquiry will scrutinise previous investigations including claims of a graveyard of dogs on a former greyhound trainer’s property and that “quite a bit of investigative grunt” has been pulled together to ensure the effectiveness of the inquiries.
He said that all issues that have been raised are being taken seriously and there is “an appetite” to establish what has gone wrong.
He encouraged people to come forward with the assurance that any information or complaints about staff at the regulator Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) would be dealt with separately by the head of the RSPCA.
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing, Troy Grant announced the Special Commission of Inquiry last week after revelations about barbaric practices including live baiting and the shooting of dogs considered not fast enough to race.
Investigations by Fairfax Media during the past two years have revealed serious animal welfare issues including live baiting and the repeated claims of the mass killing of unwanted dogs. Last month, an expose by Animals Australia and Four Corners revealed trainers in three states were using live bait – possums, rabbits and pigs tied to lures and flung around trial tracks to entice dogs to race.
In NSW, 11 people have been suspended and 37 dogs have been suspended from racing amid concerns they have been exposed to live baiting.
Following the shocking revelations, Mr Grant forced the board and the chief executive of GRNSW to step down and he appointed Mr Newson to oversee the industry while an investigation was carried out by former High Court judge Michael McHugh.
The moves come as the Australian Senate passed a Greens supported motion that recognises that proposed activist gag laws would shut down the scrutiny of animal cruelty.
Greens animal welfare spokeswoman Senator Lee Rhiannon said “the motion highlights that if ag-gag laws were passed it would be impossible for cases of animal cruelty like the exposure of the many cases of abuse of greyhounds to occur.”
The litigation director of Levitt Robinson, Chrystalla Georgiou, who has successfully secured the release of champion dog, Pop The Cork, after he was impounded by Racing Queensland following allegations of live baiting against his trainer, said the highly emotive aspects of the scandal need to be weighed up against the legal prinicples that people are innocent until proven guilty.
“A special commission will assist in not only determining the bad element in the industry but also determine who are the good owners and trainers in the industry who have done nothing wrong but who are going through a very hard time at present because many have been tarred with the one brush,” she said.”