15 Mar 2013

Harness trainer sentenced over quarantine breach

8:35 pm on 15 March 2013

A leading harness racing trainer and driver has been sentenced in the Christchurch District Court to 120 hours' community service for making a false declaration to quarantine inspectors after a trip to Australia last year.

Anthony Murray Butt did not declare soiled harness driving equipment when he arrived at Christchurch airport from Sydney and also told inspectors he had not been racing.

An investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries found video footage showing Mr Butt racing and using the harness in question.

A spokesperson for the industry, Peter Hyde, says because of concerns about the deadly Hendra virus, which can cross from horses to people, passengers travelling from Australia need to decontaminate any equipment that may pose a biosecurity risk.