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Fallon's race-fix trial collapses

  • Story Highlights
  • Kieren Fallon's race-fixing trial collapsed on Friday at the Old Bailey in London
  • Jury at Old Bailey was directed to acquit top jockey Fallon and five other men
  • Trial judge Mr Justice Forbes decided that there was no case to answer
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LONDON, England -- Kieren Fallon's race-fixing trial collapsed on Friday when a jury at London's Old Bailey was directed to acquit the world's number one jockey and five other men.

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Fallon celebrates winning the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe on Dylan Thomas at Longchamp in October.

Trial judge Mr Justice Forbes decided that there was no case to answer following defense submissions at the end of two months of prosecution evidence.

"I am of course relieved and delighted, but also outraged," said Fallon, one of the most successful jockeys in international horse racing of the past decade. "There was never any evidence against me."

Six-time champion jockey Fallon now looks set to return to the saddle in Britain following a 17-month suspension imposed after his arrest.

He had continued riding in Ireland, Australia and France where he won the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe on Dyland Thomas in October.

Fallon, 42, fellow jockeys Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, gambler and businessman Miles Rodgers and two other men had been accused of plotting to throw races.

The lawyers said they were demanding two inquiries, one into police testimony during the trial, and the other into why the Crown Prosecution Service proceeded with the case in the first place.

The charges were filed by the City of London Police, which specializes in corruption cases. The trial cost an estimated $6.21 million.

The case was based largely on evidence from an expert witness, Australian horse racing steward Ray Murrihy, who admitted during the trial that he knew little about the British rules of racing.

"It is abundantly clear that his evidence fell far, far short of establishing a ... breach of UK racing rules," the judge told the jury.

"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."

Millionaire Fallon always denied involvement and his barrister asked the judge: "You have to consider how much it would cost to buy Kieren Fallon."

The "fatal flaw" in the case was that no-one was able to prove the jockeys had interfered with horses.

City of London police, who had been asked to investigate by the Jockey Club, came under constant criticizm.

The prosecution said there was no evidence that Fallon profited from the alleged scam -- with the accused said to have plotted to stop 27 horses winning between December 2002 and August 2004, thereby defrauding Betfair internet customers and other punters.

Fallon was said to have ridden in 17 of the allegedly fixed races and won five of them - a higher win rate than his normal average.

All the defendants were on bail. Fallon's QC, John Kelsey-Fry, had asked the judge to throw out the case against him because the prosecution had failed to "come close" to making a case against the jockey.

He said: "There is simply no case to answer. None of the strands of evidence individually or collectively amount to a case to answer.

"The evidence presented by the prosecution when properly analysed has demonstrated that Kieren Fallon was not a party to a conspiracy to defraud." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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