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Sports lawyers suggest ASADA lacks evidence to convict Essendon players

Sports lawyers suggest ASADA lacks evidence to convict Essendon players
December 3, 2014

Two leading sport lawyers have predicted that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) lacks sufficient evidence to convict 34 past and present Essendon players of doping.

ASADA is currently attempting to get the Supreme Court to force its two key witnesses, biochemist Shane Charter and compound pharmacist Nima Alavi, to give evidence.

The AFL's anti-doping tribunal is due to start hearing the case against the 34 players from Essendon's 2012 list on 15th December.

Charter allegedly bought the banned peptide thymosin beta 4 which was then allegedly compounded by Melbourne pharmacist Alavi.

ASADA alleges it was then given to the players by sports scientist Stephen Dank.

However Ian Fullagar, Head of Lander & Rogers Sports Business Group has told the ABC that ASADA's case will be at risk if Charter and Alavi refuse to give evidence.

Fullagar stated "I think the players might get off. It might just fizzle to a non-conclusion,.

"It'll just end and the players will get off and the game will go on."

Catherine Ordway, who specialises in sports law at the University of Canberra, agreed that there would be nothing compelling the pair to speak at the hearing, in a legal sense at least.

Ordway stated "it would be difficult to see how Alavi and Charter could be compelled to go before the AFL Tribunal because they are not employees of the AFL; they're not players, they don't otherwise come within the AFL's jurisdiction," 

"It is difficult to understand why (they) would want to go before the AFL Tribunal unless they feel like they want to clear their name and get their story on the record perhaps.

"Which is why I assume they spoke to ASADA in the first place, and so I'm not sure why they didn't do affidavits at the beginning and perhaps they got legal advice about that.

The AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal has agreed to let ASADA ask the Victorian Supreme Court to subpoena the two men as witnesses, which Ordway says is out of the ordinary, concluding "it's extremely unusual. I don't remember another case where it's gone before the Victorian Supreme Court.

"There was one case involving Werner Reiterer, where we tried to get the matter heard in the New South Wales Supreme Court before the Commercial Arbitration Act, but that was a long time ago."


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