A total of eleven people have now been charged in New Zealand’s harness race fixing scandal and nine of them made appearances in district courts this week. Only one has entered a plea, and all have been remanded on bail to appear again next month.
Nine of the eleven have secured interim court orders suppressing their identities and details of the charges. However, these are all subject to appeal to the High Court.
In New Zealand it is not unusual for name suppression to be granted when persons first appear, but unusual for this to continue, unless there is a risk to harm to other parties from publication. Suppression to protect the reputation of the persons charged is very rare.
The identity of two persons is known. Andrew Douglas Stuart, a prominent trainer from Rangiora, outside Christchurch, has entered no plea to three charges of race fixing.
Brent Stephen Ward has pleaded not guilty to one charge of deception by match fixing. It is alleged in documents filed in court that he drove his horse Sportscaster to win a race with the intent of influencing the betting outcome and thereby causing over $1 000 in losses to others.