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Banned Currie penalties reduced on appeal

Disqualified Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie had some of his penalties for presenting horses to race with prohibited substances reduced on appeal.

Currie, who was the leading trainer in Queensland on winners, has been on the sidelines for more than a year after a series of inquiries.

His nominations have also been refused by Racing Queensland.

Currie still has two other appeals where judgment has been reserved and District Court criminal charges which remain unheard, meaning he is unable to reapply to train.

However, the decision on Thursday was a step closer to him being eligible to reapply for a licence.

Last July, Currie was disqualified for three years and fined $45,000 on five charges which after an internal review was reduced to a $10,000 fine and a 27-month disqualification.

He then took the convictions and penalties for three of the offences on appeal to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal which delivered its judgment on Wednesday.

Fines totalling $30,000 for two other charges were reduced on internal review to $5000 in each case and were not the subject of a QCAT hearing.

Member Robert King-Scott said in a written judgment there appeared to be a rational explanation for one charge and the two others could in effect be put down to carelessness.

The appeal heard the horse Shakira was found to have testosterone in excess of the accepted concentration in her system when she raced on January 28, 2018 at Toowoomba.

Another horse Dreamscope was found to have cocaine and benzolecgonine in his system when he raced at Toowoomba on September 16, 2018 and Eight Over was found to have cocaine, methylecgonine and benzolecgonine in his system when he raced on February 2, last year at Toowoomba.

The penalty for Shakira was set aside.

In the case of Dreamscope, a six-month disqualification was set aside and a $5000 fine imposed.

The 12-month disqualification penalty for Eight Over was confirmed and back dated to July 15 last year, meaning it expires on Wednesday week.

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