Casselden was assisted on Monday by solicitor Darren Kane, who is a columnist for the Herald.
Chief steward Marc Van Gestel said Prest had certain responsibilities as a registered trainer and had last year been given a suspended $5000 fine on the condition she did not offend again.
Van Gestel added Prest had begun a “sustained campaign” against V’landys after Racing NSW implemented a “jogging ban” in 2017, aimed at ending the practice of trainers conditioning their horses by leading them while driving a vehicle.
A series of tweets posted by Prest between March and August this year was read out at the three-hour hearing, which was later adjourned for the three-person panel, chaired by Leo Vellis, to consider its verdict. A decision is expected before Christmas.
Van Gestel said Prest’s claims that there was one set of rules for “top-end big boys” and a different set for bush battlers was “simply wrong and offensive”.
In one post, Prest, who has been involved with racing for more than 40 years and a trainer for 33 years, retweeted quotes from a newspaper article in which former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett labelled V’landys a “silver medallist – and not a good one at that”. “Go Jeff Kennett, my new hero,” Prest wrote in a post that Van Gestel said was “insulting”.
In another, responding to a league story about Sonny Bill Williams being allowed back into the NRL despite having a Super League contract, Prest tweeted: “Welcome to governance V’landys style …”
On another occasion, she asked a Racing NSW board member if he was “happy with the decision to allow a FULL TIME CEO to do a ‘little’ job at the ARL?”
Casselden said the social media posts had not been widely read, adding: “With no disrespect to my client … if you look at the likes or retweets, there is no engagement whatsoever.
“It’s not like it has gone viral. It’s not like Israel Folau posting a tweet – that tweet goes viral and the commercial partners [of Rugby Australia] are saying. ‘You have to do something’.”
Casselden said the posts were not “improper and insulting”, which was needed to satisfy the charges.
Van Gestel disagreed, saying the posts were exactly that, adding that the league tweets “always turned back into issues about racing” and that others contained factual inaccuracies.
He said V’landys was not some “cadet steward or junior clerk”, adding: “We’re talking about the CEO of an organisation.”
He said the fact Prest had “failed to heed the three previous warnings” – in September 2017, in May 2018 and in October last year, when she was handed a suspended fine – had made it impossible for stewards to turn a blind eye again.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.