Lawyer says Mullings will escape life ban

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Sunday, November 20, 2011

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Steve Mullings' lawyer Alando Terrelonge said that he does not expect a life ban to be imposed on the 28-year-old sprinter when the Anti-Doping disciplinary panel convenes 2:00 pm tomorrow at the Jamaica Conference Centre.

The three-member panel, consisting of chairman Lennox Gayle, Dr Japheth Ford and former FIFA referee Peter Prendergast, found the athlete guilty of an anti-doping violation during last Thursday's disciplinary hearing at the Conference Centre.

Terrelonge believed that the Jamaican athlete, who tested positive for the prohibited substance Furosemide during the National Track and Field Senior Trials in June, will escape a life sentence.

"I don't expect the worse. I don't expect a life sentence. There is a (guideline) chart and the chart provides several sanctions which can be imposed (and) for this particular matter... it is not a life sentence," he told reporters on Thursday.

The Observer understands that the ban could be eight years or less.

The former Vere Technical student was handed a two-year punishment for a previous anti-doping breach in 2004 and the significance of that transgression had led many to believe that Mullings would have been banished from the sport for good.

Terrelonge explained that such a harsh sanction would not "factor in this matter".

"The life sentence would only relate to cases where there were aggravating circumstances or a case where he was accused of trafficking drugs, soliciting other athletes or providing other athletes with drugs. Those don't factor in this matter," he said.

The athlete, who is also represented by Unites States-based attorneys Allison Strange and Ryan Cipparone of the law firm Bret Jones PA, has been absent from all sittings of the case.

Mullings has denied any wrongdoing, but the International Association of Athletics Federation and the World Anti-Doping Agency have a strict liability policy, which forces competitors to be responsible for anything that goes into their system.

Furosemide is a potent diuretic that increases the release of fluids and other substances from the body and can be used to mask the presence of other drugs.

Mullings has the option to challenge the panel's ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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