The alleged animal cruelty and fraud conspiracy case against Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir will be heard in Ballarat.
Former champion trainer Weir, alongside fellow trainer Jarrod McLean and ex-jockey William Hernan, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today for a committal mention hearing.
Former Weir employee Tyson Kermond, is charged with related offences, but he was excused from Friday’s hearing as he is on his honeymoon in Queensland.
Lawyers for the trio successfully applied to transfer the case to Ballarat, arguing none of the alleged activity occurred in Melbourne.
Weir is charged with 10 offences, including conspiring with McLean and Kermond to defraud Racing Victoria stewards between October 24 and November 17, 2018, and six counts of animal cruelty relating to thoroughbreds Yogi, Red Cardinal and Tosen Basil on October 30, 2018, at Warrnambool.
It’s alleged the horses were tortured, abused, overworked and terrified when jiggers, or conducted energy devices, were used to shock them while they ran on a treadmill wearing blinkers, causing unreasonable pain or suffering.
Weir is also facing two counts of being a prohibited person to possess a firearm.
McLean is facing 16 counts, including conspiracy to defraud stewards, animal cruelty, two of conduct that corrupted a betting outcome, six of using corrupt conduct information and possessing cocaine.
McLean allegedly placed a $100 each way bet on Red Cardinal on Cup day in 2018, which could have reaped $5200.
Kermond is charged with seven offences, including a conspiracy to defraud stewards, and six of animal cruelty.
Magistrate Sarah Leighfield approved the change of venue, bailing the men to appear at the Ballarat Magistrates Court for a further committal mention on March 5, ahead of a contested committal hearing on June 23 and 24.
Weir has been under investigation by police, since three electronic jiggers were found in a bedroom of his Ballarat home in January last year.
Weir, McLean and Kermond were arrested and released without charge following the January 29, 2019 raids.
Weir was later disqualified for four years by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board after pleading no contest to four charges, three relating to possessing the electronic apparatus on his licensed premises and the other for conduct prejudicial to the image of racing.