Sport

Richard Callander's lawyer Wayne Pasterfield in hot water over Lil Caesar tweet

The Lil Caesar saga has taken another twist with Richard Callander's lawyer handed his own show cause notice for social media comments he made about the reporting of the case.

Prominent lawyer Wayne Pasterfield, who has represented clients in a number of high-profile racing cases, will later this month appear before a sub-committee of the Racing NSW board after using his personal Twitter account to condemn a newspaper report on the issue.

Criterion: Own a champion for a day

Own a 10 per cent share in Criterion when he runs in the $4 million Group One Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes and collect your share of the prizemoney – up to $200,000 if he wins. Go to http://www.ownachampion.com.au/ for details.

Pasterfield questioned the motives for a photo of Callander appearing on the front page of the Daily Telegraph on February 23 alongside the headline "Richie Rich" after stewards called the media identity, Chris Waller's racing manager Liam Prior and top jockey Glyn Schofield to answer questions about the sale of the previously unraced Lil Caesar to Hong Kong.

Pasterfield went on to claim the story was blown out of proportion being on the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper while an article about more than 100 people being killed in Syrian bomb blasts appeared on page 16.

In strife: Lawyer Wayne Pasterfield.
In strife: Lawyer Wayne Pasterfield. Photo: Orlando Chiodo

Callander had yet to be formally charged over the affair after appearing at the initial inquiry, which was open to the media and widely reported across various mediums. He and Prior were only days later charged with dishonest and/or fraudulent action over the dispersal of $60,000 of the proceeds of the Lil Caesar sale, which now races for Hong Kong interests.

"I was simply giving a legal opinion or comment about why a Racing NSW story would make the front page of the Telegraph and trying to point out that it was an act of subjudice by the Telegraph," Pasterfield told Fairfax Media.

"On Twitter you are restricted to 140 characters so some of the meaning may have become distorted during the editing down and Racing NSW has misinterpreted this to me having a crack at them. I am sure this misunderstanding can be easily explained so I intend to go in there to tell the truth and move on and enjoy the rest of the [autumn] carnival. They are well within their rights to ask me for a 'please explain' and that's what I will do.

"With their integrity beyond question I know I will get a fair hearing and being a lawyer admitted to the High Court of Australia I am sure they will accept my explanation."

The Pasterfield case is again likely to bring the issue of social media use in racing to the fore as governing bodies clamp down on its perceived misuse by registered persons.

Racing manager Manny Gelagotis was last month fined $2000 by Racing Victoria stewards - $1000 of which was suspended for 12 months - in part for social media comments when he argued that his brother Peter's horse Mourinho shouldn't have been allowed to run in the Orr Stakes after being kicked behind the barriers.

He was also asked to appear before stewards for later repeating those comments in a Queensland radio interview where he questioned the decision of Racing Victoria's chief vet Brian Stewart for passing Mourinho fit to start.

Gelagotis unsuccessfully appealed against the fine.

Pasterfield made representations on behalf of Callander at Thursday's inquiry where he and Prior pleaded guilty to charges for keeping part of the $60,000 from the sale of Lil Caesar as a commission. They told the horse's owners it was traded for $140,000 - far less than the actual $200,000 selling price.

Callander was disqualified for six months and fined $10,000. Prior, a former Racing NSW steward, was also disqualified for six months. They repaid the money to the horse's other owners before being charged by stewards.

Callander was the managing owner with a five per cent share in Lil Caesar, which has raced with great success in Hong Kong as Lucky Year.

Schofield, who declared a $10,000 commission from the Lil Caesar sale and a separate $10,000 gratuity from the horse's Hong Kong owners, was charged over an Australian rule of racing that requires jockeys to seek permission from a principal racing authority if they are to be involved in the sale of bloodstock. He was fined $20,000.