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The racing integrity commissioner acted without fear or favour in finding former Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie leaked information during cobalt investigations, a court has heard.

Commissioner Sal Perna’s investigation identified numerous leaks, his barrister Melinda Richards SC said.

She said the critical leak was the provision of information by Mr Moodie, then a RV board member, to his trainer Peter Moody that two other trainers also had horses that had tested positive for cobalt.

Mr Moodie maintains he did not name Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien when he told Mr Moody about the unsubstantiated rumour, which came from a journalist.

But Ms Richards said he identified them sufficiently for Mr Moody to call them within minutes of his January 2015 phone call with Mr Moodie.

“It was a leak from a person who was a director of the board,” she told the Victorian Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Mr Perna also investigated the earlier leaks, she said.

“The initial leaker was identified but that doesn’t mean he was the only leaker.”

Justice Kevin Bell said he found it troubling that Mr Perna issued a media release revealing the key findings of his confidential report after it had been considered by Racing Victoria and Mr Moodie had resigned.

Ms Richards said a December 2016 media release from the governing body’s acting chairman stating the report found Mr Moodie was not the source of the leak from Racing Victoria was a complete misrepresentation of Mr Perna’s conclusions.

Mr Perna found Mr Moodie was not the original source of the leak but inappropriately disclosed information to Mr Moody, compromising or potentially compromising the integrity of the cobalt investigations, and misled Racing Victoria’s integrity council and board about it.

Mr Moodie’s barrister Simon Wilson QC argued Mr Perna exceeded his powers in making the findings and went on an “absolute frolic” in which he acted as judge, jury and prosecutor.

Ms Richards rejected the submissions, saying Mr Perna was asked to investigate a very serious integrity matter involving the chairman of Racing Victoria.

She said Mr Perna is responsible for exercising functions that are not always popular with the people in respect to which they are performed.

“He’s done that without fear or favour in this case and within the bounds of the law,.”

Mr Moodie wants Justice Bell to quash Mr Perna’s findings. The judge has reserved his decision.

 
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