Australia

'Wrongly accused': The bitter dispute that looms as first case before sports court

'Wrongly accused': The bitter dispute that looms as first case before sports court

The sister of former Wallabies back-rower Sam Scott-Young was last year fined $2000 and suspended from attending competitions for 12 months. She was alleged to have verbally abused a judge amid claims the scores of her 16-year-old daughter Piper's riding were altered during a junior dressage event in Brisbane.

Scott-Young said it was her twin sister who clashed with the judge, and her sister gave evidence to that effect at an Equestrian Queensland disciplinary tribunal, but she was still found to have breached the body’s code of conduct despite not being a member.

Scott-Young has spent $12,000 in legal fees fighting to have the sanction overturned, arguing the incident was never properly investigated. Her case is headed for the NST after it was referred there by KordaMentha, the administrator of the sport’s strife-torn national governing body, Equestrian Australia. A showjumper's dispute is one of two other cases involving EQ that has also been forwarded to the NST.

“To all those riders, spectators, non-members, to anyone who has been bullied, tried unfairly, wrongly accused, or just downright ignored and treated with contempt, we are going to the NST, and you will all get a voice,” Scott-Young said.

“This is a monumental moment. The NST will examine every piece of evidence, every paper trail, every email. They will peel all the evidence back to its skeleton.”

KordaMentha administrators Craig Shepard and Kate Conneely said in a report on the sport last week their investigations had uncovered concerns with “the manner by which complaints and disciplinary actions are handled within the company and the state branches”.

The NST has been established as a cost-effective local alternative to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is based in Switzerland.

However, it requires the agreement of all parties for a matter to be heard before it. In the case of Scott-Young, equestrian’s governing body in Queensland must acquiesce. Scott-Young emailed EQ chief executive Briston Toft on May 21 to request the matter be sent to the NST. When contacted on Monday, Toft said he had not been advised of the referral by the sport's administrators and could not say whether or not EQ would agree to the dispute going to the national tribunal.

The first NST hearing comes with Australian riders at risk of not being able to compete in Tokyo, should the Olympics go ahead next year.

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