London, Dec 9 (IANS) Jockey Robbie Dunne has been banned for 18 months, with three months suspended, after he was found guilty of ‘bullying and harassing’ fellow jockey Bryony Frost, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said on Thursday.
An independent disciplinary panel heard evidence about horse racing’s ‘weighing-room culture’, which its chair, Brian Barker QC, described as coercive.
The 36-year old Dunne was found in breach of four counts of conduct prejudicial to the integrity and reputation of horse racing between February 13, 2020 and September 3, 2020. The three-person panel found Dunne guilty of distasteful targeting and deliberate harassment on and off the course, and ruled that there had been “occasional cases of dangerous bullying”.
The BHA said it “welcomes” the panel’s decision and that Dunne’s ban reflects “the seriousness of the accusations”.
“It sends a clear message that conduct of this nature cannot be tolerated in any working environment within our sport,” the BHA said in a statement.
“By stepping forward to report the behaviour of which she was on the receiving end, Bryony Frost took a courageous step. We hope that others who may be in similar positions will feel comfortable doing the same.
“We must take positive steps across the sport to ensure that British racing is a welcoming place to work for everyone. We will issue more detail as to our next steps on this front in the near future,” it added.
The BHA also asked that the “privacy and wellbeing” of both Dunne and Frost is ‘respected’.
Notably, Frost became the first woman to win the King George VI Chase in December last year and the first woman to ride a top-level Grade One Cheltenham Festival winner in March 2019.