For Me Yahia Nazroo, who spoke to Week-End shorty after the «deal», between his client and the Mauritius Turf Club, il est clear that «the MTC has itself questioned the impartiality and independence of Mr Paterson». During this exercise of questions-answers, he also explained why there where no need to go before the Board of Appeal and that his client, Gregoria Arena «never intended to show that Mr. Paterson was actually biased». Interview…
Yahia Nazroo what was Jockey Arena’s case before the Board of Appeal of Wednesday?
— The main contention in this appeal rested was the issue of « apparent bias » which describes the situation where circumstances exist which give rise to a reasonable apprehension that the Chairman of the Board of Racing Stewards, Mr. Paterson, may have been or may be biased.
— Did Jockey Arena implying that Mr Paterson was « actually biased »?
— It is clear that jockey Arena never intended to show that Mr. Paterson was actually biased. What was intended was to show that the circumstances surrounding his presence at the birthday party gave rise to a reasonable apprehension that he may have been biased. The Court looks at the impression which would be given to other people. It is all about the confidence in the administration of justice: «Justice must be rooted in confidence: confidence is destroyed when right-minded people go away thinking: The judge was biased.»
—Mr Nazroo,  what are the consequences of this ‘deal’ between the MTC and jockey Arena?
— In view of the fact that the MTC offered to jockey Arena a new inquiry by a differently constituted Board «in order to render full transparency to the impartiality of the inquiry process», it becomes abundantly clear that the MTC has itself questioned the impartiality and independence of Mr Paterson. This is irreversible as this appearance of bias now pervades all the inquiries conducted by the Chairman and renders them tainted and unfair.
Therefore the appeal of jockey Arena never took place?
— The MTC having offered such a ‘gift’ to jockey Arena, the appeal had no longer its « raison d’être » and therefore we withdrew it. Here I want to give full credit to the Board of Appeal who rightly preserved its independence by refusing to act as ‘rubber stamp’ of a deal between the MTC and jockey Arena. It is not the role of the Board of Appeal and it also made it clear that it did not appreciate that Mr. Paterson was accompanied by his own lawyer when he was the representative of the MTC, which had its own lawyer. This created a very awkward situation and the Board of Appeal had no alternative than to refuse to hear the lawyer of Mr. Paterson.
— Is your client satisfied with the outcome?
— One thing must be clear, the outcome of this appeal was never in doubt and we had prepared ourselves for a legal battle before the Board of Appeal. We were always confident that the outcome would be a new inquiry before a new Board of Racing Stewards. The lawyer of Mr. Paterson proposed the deal provided we did not press with our Grounds 1 and 2 of the grounds of appeal which related to the presence of Mr. Paterson at a birthday party with jockeys and owners. We were more than happy with such a ‘gift’ and in fact we withdrew the whole appeal once we got what we came for.
What about the Communique of the MTC following the ‘deal’?
— The MTC never told us they were going to issue a Communique. If any Official Communique was to be issued, without telling the Defence and without having its consent, it ought to have faithfully stated what the parties agreed; nothing more and nothing less. We do not believe that Communique faithfully translates what agreement was reached between the parties and we issued our own. In any event, the public has understood what the end result means: Jockey Arena will have a new inquiry before a differently constituted Board of Racing Stewards which will not include Mr. Paterson. I need not say more.
—What happens now to the provisional charge of ‘cheating’ before the District Court of Port Louis?
— The Defence has moved that the provisional charge against Mr. Gregorio Arena be struck out on the ground that it is untenable since such a charge resulted from a complaint by the Chairman of the Racing Stewards of the Mauritius Turf Club, Mr. Ian Paterson, after an internal inquiry which, has now been invalidated by the decision of the Mauritius Turf Club to voluntarily agree to a completely new inquiry before a differently constituted Board of Racing Stewards, excluding the said Mr. Paterson, on the same matter.
What’s next now in this case Mr Nazroo?
— Before, I would first like to express my sincere thanks to my colleague, Mikash Hassamal and my friend Dr. Abdullah Atchia for their help in the preparation of this case. We await our next appeal and no doubt we will work as hard to achieve the best for our client.
Is the issue in the Arena Affair a personnal win for you against Ian Paterson?
— Absolutely not. My colleague Mikash Hassmal and I are professionals and we act in the best interest of our client. The outcome of this case is, trust me, in the best interest of horse racing in Mauritius.