Australian Karting Association v Member
The Applicant is the national governing body for karting in Australia. The Respondent is a member of the Applicant and was a minor. In October 2022, the Applicant became aware of allegations that the Respondent had shared two videos of questionable content. The Applicant investigated the allegations and determined that the Respondent was in breach of the sport’s General Code of Conduct, Licence Holders Code of Conduct, and the Social Media and Acceptable use of Social Media Policy, and imposed sanctions on the Respondent. The Respondent did not admit to the breach of the policies, and requested that the matter be referred to a hearing.
Before the NST, the Applicant submitted that the Respondent posted or sent both videos, and that the distribution of the videos was “very serious.” The Applicant therefore submitted that the appropriate penalty should exceed the recommended minimum provided for in the policies. The Respondent denied breaching the relevant policies. He argued that he did not send video 1 and because video 2 was resent to a private group it was not being resent in the public domain and was not a breach of the Social Media Policy. The Respondent also argued that the General Code of Conduct and the Licence Holder Code of Conduct provisions are not mandatory.
The Tribunal considered the Respondent’s actions in regards to sending the video(s) and whether such actions amount to a breach of any relevant policies. The Tribunal was not satisfied that the Respondent posted or sent video 1, but was satisfied that he did send video 2 as admitted. The Tribunal found that in order to establish a breach of the Social Media Policy, the Applicant did not need to establish that (relevantly) video 2 was put into the public domain by the Respondent, and that it caused the sport of karting to be brought into disrepute. It also found that the Respondent’s intent when sending the video was not determinative as to whether the Social Media policy has been breached.
The Tribunal determined that the conduct amounted to a breach of the Social Media policy, which constitutes a breach of the Applicant’s National Competition Rules and Policies, and it was not necessary in addition to consider whether the conduct also amounted to breaches of the Codes of Conduct. A sanction of 3 months (90 days) suspension of the Respondent’s licence was imposed.