A Canterbury trainer has today had an allegation of fixing a horse race dropped by the Crown.

Nigel Raymond McGrath, a 45-year-old horse trainer based at Rolleston, was arrested last year during the 18-month Operation Inca investigation into New Zealand's harness racing industry by the National Organised Crime Group.

It was alleged that McGrath helped Sheriff win Race 11 of the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Incorporated race meeting at Addington Raceway on March 31 last year "with the intention of influencing the betting outcome" and causing loss in excess of $1000 to others in the race or the betting public.

But today at Christchurch District Court, the charge was thrown out after the Crown said it was no longer offering any evidence.


Crown prosecutor Karyn South said while they believed its case was strong enough to proceed, the public interest test in the case had not been met.

Judge Raoul Neave dismissed the charge, which was the only one McGrath faced.

A 27-year-old Canterbury shed hand arrested during Operation Inca also had a charge thrown out today: an allegation of supplying the Class B controlled drug, MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy.

But he admitted three other drugs charges: that he supplied ecstasy on three separate occasions last year.

He was remanded on bail to be sentenced on December 11 when defence counsel Allister Davis indicates he will be seeking a discharge without conviction after learning that any conviction for his client would mean he's banned from ever going to a New Zealand racecourse for the rest of his life.

A total of 12 people were arrested during Operation Inca following raids on multiple stables and properties in Canterbury, Invercargill, Manawatu and Auckland late last year.

They face a variety of charges, including race fixing allegations, while others have been charged with un-related drugs and firearms offences.

Nine people are due back in court for a pre-trial callover on December 19.


Widespread suppression orders mean that for now their identities largely remain a secret while their cases go through the judicial system.