NRL match fixing case: Trio cleared by magistrate

Cleared: John Elias at Downing Centre Court in 2011. Photo: Nick Moir Cleared: Brad Murray leaves court earlier this year. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Cleared: Jai Ayoub, in action for Randwick Firsts. Photo: Adam Hollingworth

The case against three men accused of being key players in an NRL betting scandal has been thrown out, with a magistrate finding there is not enough evidence to prove allegations they acted deceptively in placing bets.

Rugby league identity John Elias, former Parramatta player Brad Murray, and Jai Ayoub – the son of Murray’s manager Sam Ayoub – were accused of being involved in a betting plunge on North Queensland to open the scoring by a penalty kick in their match against the Canterbury Bulldogs in August 2010.

All three were charged with attempting to dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.

In the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday, magistrate Greg Grogin granted the men a permanent stay of proceedings.

“Based on the evidence before me … I find that the prosecution would not be in the position to prove the matter of deception beyond reasonable doubt.”

The prosecution case against Mr Elias was that he dishonestly structured a series of cash bets with TAB betting agencies at Rozelle and Haberfield in the total amount of $5100 in the expectation of securing winnings in the amount of $98,455.

Mr Murray was accused of attempting to dishonestly obtain $16,820 by deception from Tabcorp, while Mr Ayoub was accused of attempting to dishonesty obtain thousands of dollars by deception from Luxbet.

The prosecution case was that Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy manipulated the game by giving away a penalty to the Cowboys early in the game.

Tandy is the only person in Australian history to be convicted of match fixing. He avoided prison but was fined $4000 for attempting to gain financial advantage by deception.

The betting plunge failed when Cowboys player Anthony Watts decided to take a tap rather than attempt a penalty goal, the court was told.

Legal counsel for the men had argued that for deception to be found, the prosecution must prove they also participated in fixing the match.

“There is a lack of proximity or causal link between the on-field activity and the placing of the exotic bet,” Mr Grogin said.

A charge against Sam Ayoub was dropped on similar grounds last year, and a charge against eastern suburbs real estate agent Greg Tait was also dismissed.

The matter will return to court on September 20 for a costs hearing.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.