Parker v Motorcycling New South Wales (with Motorcycling Australia)
The disciplinary matter relates to the appeal of the sanction applied to Mr Michael Parker (amateur motorcycle rider) by Motorcycling New South Wales (MNSW) regarding two incidents at a motorcycling event at Cessnock Motorcycle Club on 15 November 2020. Motorcycling Australia (MA) was also a party to this matter as the relevant national sporting organisation. The NST's jurisdiction was engaged under clause 4.6 of the MA Complaints Resolution Policy, and the MA 2020 Manual of Motorcycling General Competition Rules (Chapter 6) provided the procedure for managing offences, protests and appeals in motorcycling disputes.
On 31 March 2021 the Board of MNSW sanctioned Mr Parker with a suspension from motorcycling events for a total period of 27 months and a fine of $8,000, relating to an altercation between Mr Parker and two other riders, and the alleged assault of a course official by Mr Parker. Following this determination, Mr Parker lodged a complaint to MA under the MA Complaints Resolution Policy, and MA determined this satisfied the threshold requirement of the policy and assisted in the filing of an application to the NST on 22 April 2021. The grounds for the application were that MNSW had failed to follow established process, failed to provide natural justice, the penalty was disproportionate for the alleged conduct, and that bias and a conflict of interest had been present in the management of the matter by MNSW. MNSW rejected these assertions, and also submitted they accepted MA as a party to the matter but did not believe they should be heard in relation to substantive matters before the NST. This request which was dismissed, but it was noted only submissions related to the relevant issues, and not other governance matters, would be allowed.
Mr Parker, MNSW and MA provided written submissions and evidence prior to the arbitration hearing on 16 June 2021, held via videoconference. Mr Parker represented himself, MNSW was represented by Mr Mark Gardiner (Solicitor) and MA was represented by Mr Tony Hynes (Manager Legal and Assurance). All Parties were also offered the option to provide additional oral submissions, and questioning of Parties by the Tribunal, and cross-examination by Parties occurred. It was agreed by all Parties that if the original MNSW decision was set aside, the Tribunal should consider penalties against Mr Parker, and subsequently submissions from Parties on this point were sought.
The written determination was provided to Parties on 6 July 2021. The Tribunal found on the balance of probabilities, Mr Parker was denied natural justice and the MNSW decision should be set aside. Regarding revised sanctions following the two incidents, the Tribunal determined Mr Parker should be suspended for a total period of six months from 20 November 2020 (noting seven months have already been served) and pay a fine of $1500 to MNSW.