Breaking News: Darren Weir charged with animal cruelty offences

Breaking News: Darren Weir charged with animal cruelty offences

Police have charged Melbourne Cup-winning horse trainer Darren Weir and two other men with animal cruelty offences following raids on Weir’s stables near Ballarat and Warrnambool in January this year.

In a statement, Victoria Police said detectives from its Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit had charged four men on summons as part of an investigation into alleged illegal activity within the racing industry.

The fourth man was charged with one count of “use of corrupt conduct information”, a betting-related charge.

Weir, 49, was charged with a total of nine offences including three counts of “engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying” of a thoroughbred racehorse and three counts of “causing unreasonable pain or suffering” to a racehorse.

Other charges included possession of an unregistered firearm and conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria stewards.

A 38-year-old Yangery man was charged with 16 offences including the same number of animal cruelty charges as Weir, engaging in conduct that would corrupt betting outcomes and possessing cocaine.

A 27-year-old Warrnambool man was charged with the same six counts of animal cruelty offences as well as conspiracy to defraud stewards.

The charges come after police raided Weir’s properties at Miners Rest, near Ballarat, and Warrnambool on January 30, where police alleged they seized a firearm and electric-shock devices known as “jiggers”.

Weir, who trained the 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance, was widely regarded as Australia’s leading horse trainer before the January raids on his properties.

All four men are due to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on October 23.