Aust Open ‘courtsider’ bailed to UK

The first person charged with Victoria’s “courtsiding” offence is one of six people who travel to tennis tournaments the world over to send live score updates to a British betting agency, a court has heard.


UK man Daniel Thomas Dobson, 22, was arrested after an Australian Open match last week following intelligence received by Tennis Australia and passed on to police.

He’s accused of using a device hidden in his shorts to send live point details from the match to betting agency Sporting Data Limited.

His lawyer, David Galbally QC, told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday Dobson was seeking to have the charges dropped.

But prosecutors rejected Mr Galbally’s submission and will push ahead.

Prosecutor Luke Excell said Dobson was allegedly one of six people who travel the world to send live results of points won at tennis tournaments directly to the betting agency.

“He’s previously been asked to leave a tournament in New Zealand,” Mr Excell told court.

Dobson has been charged with one count of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome.

He allegedly had a device built into his shorts and linked to his mobile phone which allowed him to wirelessly relay the results as they happened.

Dobson sent results before the agency could get them through the official channels and that had the ability to affect betting odds, a police prosecutor told a hearing last week.

But Dobson’s lawyers claim their client was simply collecting data for the betting agency.

Dobson was bailed to live in a Melbourne hotel following his arrest on January 16, but Mr Galbally said his client wishes to return to England until his committal hearing later in the year.

Mr Galbally said Dobson planned to live with his father, Detective Inspector Tim Dobson of the Metropolitan Police, upon his return to England.

The court could therefore have confidence he would return to face the charge, Mr Galbally said.

The Office of Public Prosecutions proposed Dobson post a bail surety of $100,000 to $500,000, a figure which Mr Galbally said amounted to “no bail at all”.

Mr Galbally said the figure was excessive given police initially offered Dobson a diversion for his alleged offending.

Diversion allows first-time offenders to acknowledge responsibility and be released without conviction.

Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge altered Dobson’s bail to allow him to return home on a surety of $10,000.

Dobson will fly out of Australia on Monday night and will not be required to return for a procedural hearing in March.

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