Sport

Athlete's attorney pleads with disciplinary panel to be lenient

Don’t lynch Asafa!

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014    

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ASAFA Powell's future in athletics will be known on April 10 and his attorney Kwame Gordon pleaded with the disciplinary panel for him not to be lynched, but commended for coming forward and assisting the authorities after the analytical finding last May.

But Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission's (JADCO) attorney, Lackston Robinson, suggested no reduction in sanctions was possible for Powell while outlining discrepancies in the athlete's statements.

Robinson outlined the inconsistencies in the invoice that Canadian trainer Chris Xuereb sent to agent Paul Doyle when he purchased the supplements; Powell's reasons for not mentioning Epiphany D1 on the doping control form and his research method.

"It goes to credibility, it does. It affects all the witnesses' credibility. There are so many discrepancies given by Mr Doyle, Mr Powell, Miss (Sherone) Simpson his witness and Mr Plummer," noted Robinson.

"When you look at this invoice, Epiphany D1 is not on it at all, so the plot thickens. We don't know what to believe, Mr Chairman," he added.

"The evidence that we have is that Mr Xuereb left Jamaica on the fifth of June, 2013, and returned on the sixth with the supplements. But if you look at the invoice it is dated June 1, 2013. It pre-dates the time the supplements were purchased," he pointed out.

"He gave the identical reason that Miss Simpson gave for not disclosing the supplements he was taking to Dr Wright and I think Mr chairman, you need to take a close look at that," said Robinson.

"Mr Powell gave very cryptic responses when we spoke to him about consultation. He said that he didn't think there was any need to consult a doctor or nutritionist or anybody. His total confidence was in Mr Doyle."

"...Even if they are saying it came from Epiphany D1 and it contained prohibited substances, they would still be significantly negligent," Robinson reiterated.

"There is an abundance of evidence that speaks to not only significant negligence, but gross negligence on the part of this respondent so he cannot benefit from article 10.5.2 and as far as 10.5.3 is concerned, it's not applicable at all," said Robinson.

The 10.5.2 and 10.5.3 the JADCO attorney is referring to is from the World Anti-Doping Code that says if an athlete or other person establishes in an individual case that he or she bears no significant fault or negligence, then the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility may be reduced.

When the proceedings started yesterday at 10:15 am, Powell's attorney Gordon made it very clear that they were not contesting the process, but seeking an appropriate sanction.

"The substance is in the athlete, that was never a dispute, we have never challenged the urine sampling process; we have never challenged the testing of the WADA lab, we have admitted to the violation," noted Gordon.

He continued: "The issue before this tribunal is what is the appropriate sanction. We are aware of the fact that there must be a sanction and are arguing what is the relevant sanction. We are not arguing 10.5.1, we are saying the fault is minimal."

According to Gordon, a document came into the possession of the authorities which could have criminal sanctions to it and no one saw it fit to share that document with the athletes or their attorneys until it came to the hearing.

"Why? What are you trying to accomplish here. This is a disciplinary hearing. This is not 'thank you so much for your services to Jamaica' now go and retire in peace here.

"We must not lynch them, we must commend them for coming forward. Why is there a desire to hunt and kill?" said Gordon.

Although Powell's verdict will be known on April 10, the outcome of his former MVP teammate, Simpson two days earlier, will have a significant bearing on his verdict.

Both athletes were tested positive for Oxilofrine which they claimed was triggered by a supplement Epiphany D1 they consumed last May at the National Championships, and both cases are very similar with the same attorneys representing both athletes.

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