5 Paper Buildings loses Betfair fraud case

A trio from 5 Paper Buildings has failed to convince a jury that champion jockey Kieren Fallon and five others were guilty of race-fixing.

Today (7 December) Mr Justice Forbes at the Old Bailey directed the jury to find the defendants not guilty of conspiracy to defraud customers of betting exchange Betfair.

The trial centred around accusations that Fallon and two other jockeys, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, were involved in the conspiracy to defraud Betfair punters.

Also charged with the same fraud were Lynch’s brother Shaun Lynch, former racing syndicate director Miles Rodgers and Philip Sherkle.

The jockeys had denied trying to make horses lose in 27 races between December 2002 to August 2004.

The prosecution’s main witness Australian racing steward Ray Murrihy, who found fault with the jockeys in 13 of the 27 races, was forced to admit he knew little about the rules and culture of British racing.

Forbes J said: “It is abundantly clear that his evidence fell far, far short of establishing a prima facie breach of UK racing rules.

“I have reached the conclusion that even if it was appropriate to admit Mr Murrihy’s expert opinion, its probative value is so limited that very little value can be attached to it.”

The case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after an investigation that lasted three-and-a-half years and is believed to have cost the taxpayer up to £10m.

Fallon’s lawyers have called for an inquiry into police testimony during the trial as well as an inquiry into why the CPS proceeded with the case.

CPS reviewing lawyer Asker Hussain said that it was right to prosecute the case.

“This was a serious allegation of fraud in connection with horse-racing, with the potential to undermine the integrity of a historic sport enjoyed by millions,” said Hussain.

The trio from 5 Paper Buildings leading the charge for the CPS was made up of the set’s co-head of chambers Jonathan Caplan QC, Nicholas Griffin and Michael Hick.

Fallon’s lead barrister was John Kelsey-Fry QC of Cloth Fair Chambers, leading Ian Winter QC from the same set.

Fergal Lynch was represented by Geoffrey Cox QC of Thomas More Chambers, who led Kate Bex of 2 Hare Court.

Christopher Sallon QC led junior Francis FitzGibbon, both of Doughty Street Chambers, for Shaun Lynch.

Rodgers instructed Peter Kelson QC of Charter Chambers. Kelson was assisted by Peter Pimm of Cloisters.

Sherkle was represented by Michael Hubbard QC of One Paper Buildings, leading William Hibbert of Gough Square Chambers.