Trainer wins delay in court case
Lawyers for a leading Irish racehorse trainer have told a court there are issues over summonses issued against him over the alleged possession of banned animal remedies including steroids.
Philip Fenton, of Garryduff, South Lodge, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, faces eight charges over treatments and medicines allegedly found at his yard in January 2012.
The case against the 49-year-old - who trains one of the favourites for the Cheltenham Gold Cup - was adjourned at Carrick-on-Suir District Court until after next month's Cheltenham festival.
Declan Molan, solicitor for Fenton, told the court he wished to make submissions "i n relation to the summonses themselves".
Judge Terence Finn granted four weeks to allow submissions to be written and filed with the prosecution.
"If the submissions affect this court's jurisdiction to deal with this matter that is a matter that has to be taken in advance," the judge said.
The case was adjourned until March 20.
The court was told 12 to 15 witnesses are expected to be called in the case, including one witness from France.
The trainer has horses in his yard for Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary and has two leading contenders for the Cheltenham festival including Gold Cup hope Last Instalment, and former Champion Bumper Dunguib which has suffered a injury blighted racing career.
No plea has been entered and Fenton did not attend the brief hearing in Carrick-on-Suir courthouse.
The prosecution is being taken by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine following an inspection of his yard on January 18, 2012.
John Ryan, junior counsel for the state, objected to the adjournment.
"It's only very recently we have heard anything about this. It's a very vague and nebulous thing, I say, to prevent the hearing of the matter that may or may not go to the jurisdiction of the case," Mr Ryan said.
Submissions from the defence must be submitted one week before the case is mentioned again in the District Court, the judge said.
Fenton faces eight charges in relation to alleged possession of Nitrotain and Ilium Stanabolic and prescription medicines including Engemycin 10%, Neomycin Penicillin, Marbocyl 10%.
Following the court hearing a leading racehorse owner with horses in Fenton's stables said his animals would not run competitively until the case has been dealt with.
Barry Connell said The Tullow Tank and Volvalien will not run at Cheltenham due to "uncertainty" over the case.
He told the Press Association: "I have decided the two horses I have in training with Philip won't run again until the matter is dealt with. Both horses will remain in training with Philip."