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PJA raise data breach concern as Frost bullying case is leaked

Sun 17 Oct 2021

The British Horseracing Authority says an investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment against Bryony Frost is nearing a conclusion after the contents of a lengthy report were “leaked” to a newspaper.

According to a report in The Sunday Times, jockey Robbie Dunne was charged with “conduct prejudicial to the integrity or good reputation” of racing after a lengthy investigation, with Frost detailing complaints about her weighing room colleague’s behaviour over several years.

While the BHA declined to comment on the specifics of the case as it is ongoing, the regulator expects the matter to conclude in the “near future” and emphasised the details will be made public.

Bryony Frost lodged a complaint with the BHA about the difficulties she was facing following her victory aboard Frodon in the King George at Kempton last year
Bryony Frost lodged a complaint with the BHA about the difficulties she was facing following her victory aboard Frodon in the King George at Kempton last year

A statement read: “The Sunday Times article refers to leaked documents which are related to an ongoing investigation. In the interests of procedural fairness the BHA does not comment on the details of ongoing investigations.

“This case is close to reaching its conclusion, with directions hearings scheduled for the near future. It is an important case and one that the BHA is taking very seriously. Cases such as this may be complex and involve significant legal representation. In order to ensure fairness for all parties such procedures – including the directions hearings – must be allowed to play out in full, and in private rather than through the media.

“However, as is usual process, and in the interests of openness and transparency, the BHA would make public the details of any cases which are heard in front of its independent Disciplinary Panel, prior to any hearing taking place.

“Separately, racing is not immune to issues around conduct and behaviours which are prevalent in all aspects of society and other sports.

“The BHA has already announced that it is working alongside our industry’s participants to develop a Code of Conduct for anyone involved in the sport, which will be enshrined in the rules and ensures that appropriate behaviours are endorsed and bad behaviours are discouraged.”

King George winner Frost first alluded to difficulties she was facing following her Kempton victory last Christmas, having lodged a complaint with the BHA.

While the Professional Jockeys Association also declined to comment directly on the case until the process is complete, it raised concerns about a “serious data breach” within the BHA.

In a statement, the PJA said: “We are aware of an article in the Sunday Times disclosing details of an ongoing investigation by the British Horseracing Authority.

“The article has published extracts of confidential case papers, the possession of which may have been the result of a serious data breach within the BHA. This is a deeply concerning development for all participants in the sport.

“It would not be appropriate for the PJA to comment on the specifics of this case whilst the matter is still subject to the disciplinary process. That process must be allowed to run to its conclusion.

“Earlier this year the PJA produced and published a Code of Conduct, the first of its kind in the sport. This Code of Conduct, which was sent individually to all members and is available on the PJA website, sets out the clear standards of behaviour that the PJA expects of its members, what members should expect of each other and clear reporting channels.

“Horseracing is a competitive and dangerous sport and the safety and wellbeing of its members has always been, and remains, the PJA’s number one priority.”

The BHA later confirmed it would examine the source of the report.

It added: “In any case of this nature, documentation is shared in confidence with a number of relevant parties. The source of the documentation is not yet known in this case, but this will form part of the BHA’s investigatory work around this case. In the meantime it is unhelpful to speculate on the source via the media.”

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