CHAMPION former Casino jockey Chris Munce was sentenced to 30 months jail yesterday after being convicted of taking bribes in exchange for racing tips.
District Court Judge Kevin Browne handed down the sentence in a Hong Kong court yesterday afternoon after earlier finding Munce guilty.
Munce, who wore a black suit, blue shirt and pink tie on his short, stocky build, appeared emotionless after the verdict was announced.
Munce's lawyer challenged the conviction in an animated argument with the judge, although he declined to tell reporters immediately if he planned to formally appeal the result.
John McNamara said Munce broke Hong Kong racing rules that ban jockeys from betting on contests, but that he did not commit a criminal offence and that the matter should be handled by local racing officials, not in a court of law.
"He's selling secret information by virtue of giving tips. That's the criminality I find," Browne replied.
McNamara also argued that no one suffered financially from Munce's scheme, calling it a 'victimless crime'.
"What is alleged, what's been proven doesn't deserve the penalty that would ruin the life of this man and the life of his family," he said.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Munce provided tips to Hong Kong businessman Andy Lau 17 times covering races involving 29 horses from December 2005 to May 2006, and that Lau paid Munce through a middleman.
Munce was found carrying a betting slip and HK$250,000 ($A40,000) in cash stuffed in his jeans pockets when he was arrested on July 3, 2006, after meeting with Lau at a hotel, prosecutors said.
The jockey has won many of the biggest races on the Australian calendar, including the 1998 Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel, and the Golden Slipper on Prowl in 1998 and Dance Hero in 2004.
Munce was the official guest of the Ballina Jockey Club for the Ballina Cup meeting in 2004. ? AP
Family members contacted last night by The Northern Star refused to comment on the matter.