On Wednesday, November 1, the Ontario Court of Appeal announced that it had denied an appeal from Jeffrey Brooks and Bulletproof Enterprises in regard to a ruling by the then-Ontario Racing Commission.
Bulletproof Enterprises and its owner, Jeffrey Brooks, had appealed the Divisional Court’s dismissal of their judicial review application.
The judicial review application had been brought in relation to three decisions. First, the director of the ORC issued a Suspension and Freezing Order against Mr. Brooks on the basis that his brother, David Brooks, had been involved in running Bulletproof, despite having been suspended by the ORC. Second, the ORC dismissed the appellants’ motion to quash or stay both the Freezing Order and the Notice of Proposed Order to Suspend Licences and dismissed the motion in the alternative for particulars. Third, after a hearing before a panel of the ORC, the panel made findings of wrongdoing against the appellants and ordered forfeiture of the frozen accounts, ten-year licence suspensions, and a fine of $400,000 (the ‘Merits Decision’).
The Divisional Court dismissed the application for judicial review. Justice Sachs found that although the director did not have jurisdiction to grant the Freezing Order, the granting of that order did not require the Merits Decision to be set aside because ultimately the panel had the power to seize the funds subject to the Freezing Order. She further found that both the Procedural Decision and Merits Decision were reasonable and the manner in which the proceedings were conducted did not breach the appellants’ rights to natural justice.
In its decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal stated that it rejected the appellants’ submission that the panel made unsupported factual findings, failed to address contradictory evidence, and that its reasons were so inadequate that they amounted to a breach of procedural fairness. In Ontario Court of Appeal’s view, the panel made reasonable factual findings available to it on the evidentiary record. In this regard, the Ontario Court of Appeal stated that it is important to note that the appellants called no evidence at the hearing. The Ontario Court of Appeal went on to state that the appellants’ objection to the reasons amounts to nothing more than an assertion that the panel should have drawn different inferences from the evidence given by the ORC’s witnesses.
The Ontario Court of Appeal stated that it was satisfied that the conclusions drawn by the panel from the evidence were reasonable.
The Ontario Court of Appeal denied the appellants’ appeal.
To view the ruling, click here.
(With files from the Ontario Court of Appeal)