Sport

Frustrated

Postponement in doping hearing irks Simpson's lawyer

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, February 05, 2014    

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A frustrated Sherone Simpson could hardly contain herself as her anti-doping hearing with the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) is far from closure on the third day of what should have been a two-day trial.

The case, which began on January 7 and resumed yesterday, was no nearer to the end after JADCO attorney Lackston Robinson pleaded for more time to decipher the long-awaited lab report from HFL Sports Science lab in Kentucky.

But Kwame Gordon, the lead attorney for Simpson, was livid that the case is being dragged out.

"Mr chairman, I cannot express in words my utmost disappointment in what is happening. Let us finish this matter today and tomorrow. That's my respectful submission," said Gordon.

"It is absolutely unfair to the athlete. This is eight months after an adverse analytical finding. We should not take this long to deal with a matter like this. We will not accept excuses that other people do it, so we should," he pointed out firmly.

"No, we should rise above that. This is Jamaica, the land of the sprint kings and queens, we shouldn't be dragging our feet on matters like this," said Gordon.

The HFL Sports Science lab report that was not submitted in January was initially one of the reasons why the case was postponed until yesterday.

That report, along with the one from the Caribbean Toxicology (Caritox) lab, is what Simpson and her lawyers said have revealed that oxilofrine is found in the supplement Epiphany D1, consumed by her, that triggered the analytical finding last June.

Simpson, 29, who trains in Florida, was clearly frustrated, and looked to the heavens while constantly fidgeting in her seat after Robinson suggested that the case be postponed until next week.

"We have some difficulty this morning cause we are not sure where we go in cross-examining Prof (Wayne) McLaughlin because we can only do so with a proper understanding of both documents," Robinson pointed out.

"We must complete these matters next week. It would not put the athlete at any disadvantage as far as time is concerned because at the end of the day, when this matter is complete, it will be time for submissions," he added.

"Having examined that lab documentation we have some concern about the report. That report is a highly technical document. We have persons in-house who have limited training in the field of chemistry, but they were not able to decipher the information in that document and we have therefore sought assistance in interpreting the document," Robinson went on.

Panel chairman, Lennox Gayle, then reluctantly agreed to postpone the hearing once again and began setting dates for next week, a move which clearly irked Gordon, who pointed out that Robinson had the document in his possession from January 17.

According to Gordon, American track and field governing body, USADA, posted on their website that oxilofrine is present in the supplement Epiphany D1 and they wouldn't have done that unless they have done their test. "It's not an irresponsible sports body. They are not looking to buy a lawsuit," noted Gordon.

"We are here now ready to proceed and at the 11th hour in the heat of the battle we are told we cannot proceed, when there was sufficient time to meet that assessment.

"With the greatest amount of respect to Mr Robinson, I think that is inadequate."

However, after a 45-minute recess, the hearing resumed at 11:45 am with Robinson questioning Prof Wayne McLauglin again about his report of the supplement Epiphany D1 to end the day's proceedings at 2:50 pm.

There was also the problem of locating witness Catty Rattray-Samuels, who Robinson said was overseas and hopefully she will be available via Skype. Dr Paul Wright is also expected to take the stand today.

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