Harness racer cleared in race-fix probe

·1-min read

A Queensland harness racing driver and trainer has been cleared of lying to a corruption probe into industry race-fixing and found not guilty of perjury.

Mathew Peter Neilson, 38, was called before coercive hearings held by the Crime and Corruption Commission for the racing integrity probe into "irregularities" in harness racing.

"He was there because an investigation had commenced into curious conduct that was going on in the Queensland harness racing," prosecutor Ben Jackson told Neilson's Brisbane District Court trial.

"The main point of the investigation was about the predetermination of races - predetermining the outcomes of harness races," Mr Jackson said.

"Clearly, if a race is predetermined, that will affect who can make money."

The Crown alleged that during Neilson's January 2017 interview, he told a "significant lie" after admitting he knew of some races he thought looked quite "hot" but that was the business of other people.

"He said he did not participate in race or match-fixing."

After claiming to be unaware of race-fixing activities, the Crown says two later telephone intercepts would show Mr Neilson arranging for his horse to place in two separate 2016 races.

Barrister Tim Ryan for Neilson urged the jury to pay close attention to the actual questions put to his client.

"In cases where a charge of perjury is brought by the prosecution, it's all about the precision of language," Mr Ryan said.

"How can he be guilty of saying something in evidence when he was actually never asked about it?"

The jury took less than three hours on Thursday to clear Neilson who was visibly relieved by the findings.

Supporters in the gallery breathed a collective sigh of relief and celebrated the result.

Neilson declined to comment outside the court.

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