Expert witness and defence counsel clash over Fallon

The competence and independence of Ray Murrihy as an expert witness was questioned yesterday during a day of attrition at the Old Bailey. The chief steward of New South Wales has raised concerns over 13 of the 27 rides he was asked to examine by police investigating allegations of race-fixing. But it was suggested that some of these objections reflected a specifically Australian perspective, irrelevant to British racing, and also that he had been asked to find fault wherever possible.

Murrihy locked horns all day with John Kelsey-Fry QC, representing Kieren Fallon. The six-times champion jockey is one of six men charged with conspiracy to defraud customers of the online betting exchange, Betfair. Fallon rode 17 of the horses allegedly laid to lose, winning on five of them. All the defendants plead not guilty.

Kelsey-Fry and Murrihy found it difficult to discover common ground. This ultimately caused a moment of levity, when Murrihy was asked to explain the significance of a horse – cajoled to success by Fallon – having swished its tail. He retorted that Kelsey-Fry would have to ask the horse, because there were many different reasons why this could happen. Exasperated, Kelsey-Fry asked Murrihy whether he expected him to summon the horse in question, Daring Aim – the property, as it happens, of the Queen. Hearty laughter around the court suggested that a cross-examination of Daring Aim could scarcely prove less productive than some recent exchanges.

For the tone of the day was stony throughout. At one stage, Murrihy pointedly checked a trivial fact raised by Kelsey-Fry. Asked why he had done so, he replied: "I wouldn't want you to mislead me." Kelsey-Fry asked him to repeat what he had said. Murrihy did so, and was rewarded with a long, silent Paddington stare.

Earlier Kelsey-Fry, referring to a police transcript, had reminded Murrihy of a conversation with an investigating officer in which he was told that "we're clearly looking for any evidence that might support the fact he wasn't riding to win". But Murrihy said that he had never understood that the police were asking him to "pull apart" every race. Nor would he have accepted such instructions. "I called it as I'd seen it," he said.

If the officer had made such a remark, it would have gone over his head. Kelsey-Fry, however, noted that the transcript had recorded a response from Murrihy. At the time they were studying a video of Fallon's front-running success on Barking Mad at Windsor in August 2004. According to the transcript, Murrihy told the officer: "On balance, you would say that going to the front and exposing yourself, having to get a horse beat from the front, wouldn't be the ideal way of doing it."

Murrihy said that his only reason for calling a stewards' inquiry into Barking Mad's success would have been that Fallon had repeatedly looked over his shoulder while easing his mount, before winning comfortably. Kelsey-Fry had emphasised that this practice was discouraged in Australia, but was integral to the British racing culture – not just to protect a winner from punishment by the handicapper, but on welfare grounds.

In general terms, moreover, he proposed that British stewards, who had seen nothing of concern in the vast majority of the races under review, were better placed to form a judgement. Murrihy would not cede that point. Presented with a reverse hypothesis, he said that he "wouldn't be insulted if a UK steward who had the experience and the ability to read a race" made observations on an Australian race.

Taking Murrihy through the video, Kelsey-Fry finally extracted an admission that Fallon had ridden Barking Mad positively from an awkward draw. He asked: "Bearing in mind his draw and preferred manner of racing, Kieren Fallon did everything necessary to ensure the maximum chance of winning, didn't he?" Murrihy responded: "I wouldn't disagree with that proposition." Kelsey-Fry, with a long-suffering air, said: "The answer's yes, then." Murrihy assented. "Thank you."

Elaborating the different habits of riders in Britain and Australia, Kelsey-Fry reminded Murrihy how he had told the jury he had never experienced a ride akin to Ballinger Ridge, caught on the line after being heavily eased at Lingfield in March 2004. He then showed eight different British races in which jockeys threw away victory in similar fashion, in all cases – like Fallon – being punished by the stewards for an error of judgement, without intent. Kelsey-Fry asked whether he would accept that all these riders were guilty of "horrendous blunders". But Murrihy refused to do so, without knowing more about the background to each ride. "Desperation happens," he said. "I've seen them jump off to get beaten."

The trial continues today.

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

All Primary NQT's

£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...

DT Teacher - Food Technology

£100 - £145 per day + Pension and travel: Randstad Education Maidstone: SUPPLY...

Supply Teachers Needed in Thetford

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star