The case of leading Irish racehorse trainer Philip Fenton, who is alleged to have had unlicensed animal medicines, is due to be heard in the district court next month .
A judge today set aside a full day was set for hearing the case at Carrick-on-Suir District Court on October 23rd which has been brought by the Department of Agriculture and Food.
There are eight charges against Philip Fenton, of Garryduff, South Lodge, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary who is alleged to have been in possession of anabolic steroids, among other medicines.
At Carrick-on-Suir District Court today, Judge Terence Finn accepted jurisdiction in the matter, which means the hearing will take place in the district court rather than moving to a higher court. The case was mentioned in court for the eighth time yesterday.
The trainer was in court for the brief hearing accompanied by his solicitor Declan Molan.
State solicitor Paul Fitzpatrick said the charges arise from an inspection by the Department at Mr Fenton’s training yard on January 18th, 2012. Mr Fitzpatrick said a kilogram of Nitrotain, an anabolic steroid, was allegedly found at the yard, as well as a 20ml bottle of Ilium Stanabolic, also an anabolic steroid. The trainer was also allegedly in possession of antibiotics for which he didn’t have veterinary prescriptions, required under the relevant legislation.
The state solicitor said a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions whose view was that it was a matter for the state prosecutor to deal with, and that it could proceed in the district court, subject to the judge's view.Judge Finn said the court was satisfied to accept jurisdiction in relation to all eight charges.
Mr Fitzpatrick said the State will have about eight witnesses although he won’t be in a position to marshall them all until late October. He said he expected the case to take about a day.
Johnny Walsh, barrister for Mr Fenton, agreed with the timescale, saying he didn’t think the defence would extend it beyond a day. Judge Finn adjourned the case until October 23rd for hearing. The charges against Mr Fenton include allegations that he was illegally in possession of Nitrotain, which contains the anabolic steroid ethylestranol and is reported to improve the muscle mass, strength and stamina of horses. The charges also include the alleged possession of Ilium Stanabolic which contains the anabolic steroid stanozolol.
Four of the charges allege that Philip Fenton was in possession of prescription-only medicines for horses, without any vet’s prescriptions for the medication.
Turf Club officials have been attending the court hearings and the case is also being watched by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), although neither of the horseracing regulatory bodies have any official role in the court proceedings. Mr Fenton's horses, including Dunguib and Last Instalment, both of which are now retired, were allowed to run at the Cheltenham Festival in March after the charges against him became public. An investigation into the horses at Cheltenham by the BHA found no evidence of the administration of illegal substances.