A jockey has been convicted of bullying and harassing another rider. Robbie Dunne, who was Bryony Frost’s stable colleague at the time, will no longer be able to ride in Britain after being found guilty on 2 charges by a disciplinary panel.
Dunne was found guilty of all four charges of anti-horse racing behavior.
Robbie Dunne was found guilty of “bullying and harassing” Bryony Frost, a fellow rider.
Dunne was found guilty on all four charges of behavior damaging to horse racing’s image by an impartial tribunal.
Three allegations of indecent or aggressive behavior have still to be examined.
Following accusations presented by the British Horseracing Authority, the panel heard testimony over many days concerning a “weighing-room culture” (BHA).
Dunne was found guilty of “disgusting targeting, purposeful harassment on and off track, and infrequent examples of hazardous bullying,” according to the panel’s head, Brian Barker QC.
“Deliberate behaviour over a substantial period of time has been shown,” Barker said.
He said the panel was “very concerned” about the “deep-rooted and coercive” weighing-room culture.
The bulk of the instances in issue occurred in 2020, when Dunne was accused of threatening Frost by threatening to “throw her through a wing [of a fence]” and of using sexist words against her by the panel.
“We discover that the comments used on September 3 were a pledge to do genuine damage – in addition to the typical jockey slogan of’murdering,’” Barker added.
“We judge Ms Frost to be genuine, smart, and convincing based on her evidence and demeanor.”
“She had violated the code [of the weighing chamber] by bringing her complaint to the authorities, knowing that her isolation – and rejection by others – was unavoidable.”
“We are unwilling to accept Mr Dunne’s sweep of denials, critiques, and justifications after Mr Dunne admitted after the Southwell race that Ms Frost was the cause of his mount’s death and that he had suffered a fall.”
In this instance, what evidence has been heard?
In his concluding comments, Louis Weston, representing the BHA, said that Dunne had a “vendetta” towards Frost.
Frost’s behavior by certain coworkers after she filed the complaint has been “outrageous,” according to Weston, who added that Frost has been shunned by other jockeys and valets.
Dunne, 36, allegedly threatened Frost with significant bodily harm and used “foul, sexually abusive, and sexist words” against her, according to Weston.
Frost testified that Dunne “opened his towel and shook himself” in front of her in the men’s changing area, where female jockeys would sometimes go to retrieve their equipment.
Dunne said that being nude was not a sexual act, and that the only time she was undressed in front of others was when she was going from the sauna to the weighing scales.
In his final statements during the court, Roderick Moore, defending Dunne, described the BHA case as a “jigsaw puzzle with multiple missing parts.”
Frost had “problems” with three other top jockeys, he claimed, and a leak of the probe report to the Sunday Times had “a significant influence on Mr Dunne’s health and wellbeing.”
Dunne had rejected four accusations of anti-horse racing conduct, including bullying and harassing Frost, as well as two of the three counts of aggressive or unlawful behavior.
When Dunne told Frost he would send her through the side of a fence, he maintained it was a “figure of speech” rather than a “threat.”
Weston wondered why no other bikers had noticed anything unusual about the transaction.
“If a weighing-room culture enables one rider to threaten another with significant injury to themselves and their horse, that culture is rotten and rancid, and we believe it should be eliminated. It has served its purpose “he said
He said that racing “put a strain on those who might normally talk freely.”
The tribunal will hear the BHA’s and Dunne’s legal teams’ comments on fines.