Sport

VIDEO: Edwards happy, but attorney disappointed with reprimand verdict

Our evidence was compelling — attorney

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 22, 2014    

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THE Jamaica Anti-Doping disciplinary panel's public warning verdict handed down to Jamaica's tae kwon do star Olympian Kenneth Edwards yesterday, was met with bitter disappointment by his lead attorney Brian Moodie, who thought the evidence was compelling enough for no sanctions to be meted out.

However, the athlete was a relieved man, who was far less bothered by the technicalities of a public reprimand, and definitely more appreciative of the fact that he has been cleared to resume his career.

"They indicated they would be giving him a reprimand although they indicated that they were satisfied that there was no intention on his path to boost his performance or to cheat," Moodie lamented.

"Now that's a little bit inconsistent in my view and I have to say we are disappointed in the result. We thought we had compelling evidence which showed, not only that he took extra precautions, but that there is nothing else that he could have done in the circumstances. The thing got into his system as a result of no fault of his own," Moodie told the Jamaica Observer.

Edwards, 28, Jamaica's first tae kwon do fighter to participate in an Olympics in 2012, failed an out-of-competition drug test for the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide last August.

His defence team, which also included Danielle Chai, presented strong arguments for a no fault or negligence plea at his doping hearing at the Jamaica Conference Centre in January, which if successfully argued, means that there should be no sanction under rule 10.5.1 of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) code.

"I think you will remember that the batch of antibiotic that was prescribed was tainted and that batch came from a particular source and when we tested three or four other sources, none of them was tainted. So it is something that we are really disappointed that they gave a reprimand," reiterated Moodie.

"They issued a preliminary decision and they are to issue their written reasons within 10 days and once we see them, we will determine whether or not we want to appeal and how we want to deal with it. But we are disappointed. I thought our evidence was quite compelling."

Edwards had testified that the banned drug was found to be contained in a prescribed medication Ciprofloxacin, which he was taking to treat an injury to his right hand. He was more satisfied with the ruling than his legal team.

"It's definitely a relief. I have maintained my innocence and I am happy for the decision of the panel. I'll get back to competition and that's important to me. The support from my family and friends was great for me," said Edwards.

"It was most hard for me because of my integrity. I hold it most high for me. It's time to get back into competition and pick up the pieces," said Edwards.

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