Widespread suppressions surround harness racing figures charged after a long-running police probe into alleged race-fixing.

Ten people appeared in districts courts today charged with race-fixing, along with other unrelated charges, following an 18-month investigation by the National Organised Crime Group.

Seven people were today granted interim name suppression by a judge.

The charges come following raids on multiple stables and properties in Canterbury, Invercargill and Manawatu last week.


North Canterbury trainer Andrew Douglas Stuart appeared at Christchurch District Court this morning.

The 41-year old faces race-fixing allegations relating to three races earlier this year: a Rangiora Harness Racing Club Incorporated race meeting; a New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Incorporated race at Addington Raceway; and a Manawatu Harness Racing Club Incorporated race meeting.

Defence counsel Chris McVeigh QC said Stuart "strenuously denies" the charges.

No application for name suppression was made and Stuart was remanded on bail without plea until October 2.

Rolleston-based horse trainer Nigel Raymond McGrath, 44, appeared in court last week on a race-fixing charge related to a New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Incorporated race meeting held at Addington Raceway earlier this year.

McGrath was given a registrar's remand to appear in court on October 2.

Palmerston North man Brent Stephen Wall, 47, made a brief appearance at Palmerston North District Court this morning on a race-fixing charge.

Wall pleaded not guilty to deception by match-fixing, allegedly relating to a Manawatu Harness Racing Club Incorporated race meeting from earlier this year.


A 40-year-old Canterbury man appeared on three race-fixing charges and two drugs charges.

His lawyer, Jonathan Eaton QC said the charges would be "strenuously denied" and sought suppression of name and charge details on the basis of preserving fair trial rights.

Eaton criticised media coverage of Operation Inca, claiming that some news outlets had shown "absolute contempt" for the court process by naming people before they've had the chance to appear in court and apply for name suppression.

Judge Raoul Neave, who was critical of police for calling a press conference before defendants appeared in court, declined the suppression application before Eaton indicated the decision would be appealed to the High Court. The man has until October 9 to file appeal papers.

Three other men – aged 71, 50, and 35 – who all face race-fixing allegations, will also appeal name suppression decisions, the court heard.

A 26-year-old man facing fraud and drug allegations is making an application to the High Court for name suppression, the court heard today.

Two others facing drugs charges were granted interim name suppression.

They have all been remanded on bail without plea to appear in court on October 2.

Last week, a 30-year-old Canterbury-based trainer appeared in court on drug dealing charges and unlawful possession of a restricted weapon. He has appealed a district court judge's decision not to grant name suppression.

A 49-year-old Christchurch man, with interim name suppression also faces drugs charges, along with Elie Sawma, a 42-year-old from the Papanui area of Christchurch, charged with supplying the Class B controlled drug MDMA, possession of MDMA, and offering to supply the Class A drug cocaine.

Sawma was remanded on bail by consent to October 4.

Match-fixing charges carry a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment.

The Racing Integrity Unit has excluded all those charged by police from entering a racecourse to attend race meetings, workouts and trials.