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Freeman tribunal: Former British Cycling doctor suffers blow as panel says Shane Sutton testimony is admissible

Freeman says testosterone gel was for Sutton… but Sutton says it wasn’t

Dr Richard Freeman’s case has suffered a blow after a medical tribunal ruled that the testimony of Shane Sutton will be considered, despite the former British Cycling technical director having stormed out of the hearing. Freeman is accused of ordering testosterone gel knowing or believing that it was to be administered to an athlete and claims the substance was ordered for Sutton. Sutton denies this.

Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman has admitted ordering a delivery of the banned substance testosterone to the National Cycling Centre in 2011 and subsequently trying to cover it up.

He denies that the substance was intended for an athlete however, and his defence hinges on a claim that former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton ‘bullied’ him into ordering it to treat his erectile dysfunction.

"Shane Sutton specifically requested that I prescribed him Testogel," he claimed in a witness statement. "I was bullied into prescribing it for him."

Sutton said that while he did receive treatment and prescriptions from Freeman, the Testogel was not for him.

When Sutton appeared at the tribunal to give evidence, Freeman’s lawyer, Mary O’Rourke QC, took a combative approach, branding him “a habitual and serial liar” and “a doper, with a doping history.”

She said she believed the two witness statements he had given were false.

Sutton ultimately walked out of the tribunal, saying: “She is accusing me of all kinds of things so I am leaving the hearing now. I don’t need to be dragged into this shit fight.”

O'Rourke subsequently argued that Sutton's evidence should be disregarded because he did not complete it and that the remaining charges against Freeman should therefore be dropped due to lack of evidence.

The BBC reports that after deliberating for a week, the tribunal has ruled that Sutton’s evidence is admissible.

"I am surprised by your decision on Mr Sutton's evidence," said O’Rourke. "It's not what I anticipated."

In announcing its decision, the panel questioned O'Rourke's conduct towards Sutton.

"Sutton's unwillingness to continue to be cross-examined arose directly out of his perception of unfairness and bullying engendered by Ms O'Rourke's approach to him, an approach he perceived to have begun even before he had entered the hearing room.

"There was an objective and understandable basis to warrant Mr Sutton forming the said perception."

A redacted interview Freeman did with BBC Sports editor Dan Roan in July 2018 will also be admitted as evidence after the GMC argued it was evidence of a "previous inconsistent statement".

After suggesting that the panel’s decisions about this and Sutton’s testimony were "legally flawed," O’Rourke also raised concerns about the length of time the hearing is taking. Among her reasons for doing so was a skiing holiday for Dr Freeman that was prescribed by his doctor.

The hearing continues.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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bobinski | 4 years ago

Isn't it just like the evidence of any witness who does appear? So what if they walk out. The tribunal of fact gets to assess what they/he said in the light of all the evidence and weigh up credibility etc. The fact the tribunal may not have approved of the QC's approach is neither here nor there. It's irrelevant. 

Butty | 4 years ago
1 like

I'm amazed how BC riders have done so well in recent times with such a bunch of disfunctional loons managing them. 

Pilot Pete replied to Butty | 4 years ago
Butty wrote:

I'm amazed how BC riders have done so well in recent times with such a bunch of disfunctional loons managing them. 

Testogel? cool


Velovoyeur | 4 years ago

How do you get a skiing holiday on prescription?

Will I have to bully my doctor? 

Legin | 4 years ago

So the BMC clearly have an agenda here and it doesn't appear to be getting at the truth.

Secret_squirrel | 4 years ago

So lawyer screwed up her approach to a witness and it must have been bad if the tribunal mentioned they didnt like it.  A quick google suggests that witnesses at a Medical tribunal cannot be compelled to give evidence unlike say a court case, so it was her apparently approach that caused this. 


Wonder if Dr Freeman will get a refund on her fees?


In other news - how do I get a doctor to prescribe me a Skiing holiday, and I can I get it on NHS prescription?

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