Legal counsel for Dr Richard Freeman are pressuring the General Medical Council (GMC) to pursue an 'obtaining order' for a signed statement by Shane Sutton which they think "contain a number of lies" and contradicts testimony he gave to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's inquiry into doping in sport in 2016, according to The Guardian.
Mary O'Rourke QC wants the GMC to get the statement from the Daily Mail, which published the first article about the 'jiffy bag' delivered to Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné, where Freeman was team doctor. The story kicked off a UK Anti Doping (UKAD) investigation that uncovered evidence that 30 sachets of the testosterone drug Testogel was received at the British Cycling and Team Sky headquarters in Manchester, also in 2011.
Freeman, Sutton and Team Sky principal David Brailsford were all called to answer to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of British members of Parliament, with all giving testimony regarding the 'jiffy bag'.
Sutton testified that the package was medical and pointed the finger at Bradley Wiggins as the intended recipient of the drugs inside. Team Sky principal David Brailsford then testified that the package contained Fluimucil, a legal decongestant that was readily available in nearby Switzerland, where Freeman had obtained it previously.
Because of Freeman's poor record keeping practices and the theft of his laptop from that year, there was no paper trail to prove or disprove the contents of the package, and despite the Committee's concern that "To many people, the whole story of the package seems implausible, to say the least," neither they nor UKAD could reach a definitive conclusion without the evidence.
Freeman resigned from his post in 2017, and is now facing the Medical Practitioners Tribual Service after the GMC raised 22 allegations of misbehaviour, only four of which Freeman is contesting. All relate to the Testogel order and his motivations for making it.
The GMC suspects Freeman ordered it for performance enhancement of an athlete. Freeman denied this and accused Sutton of bullying him into ordering it to treat a purported erectile dysfunction disorder that Sutton angrily denied. Dr Steve Peters, then-head of medicine, testified he thought Freeman might have ordered it for himself.
Freeman has admitted to lying to Peters about the order, telling him it was made in error and sent back to the supplier, a lie Peters repeated to the media.
Whether the witness statement which O'Rourke alleges is in the safe of the Daily Mail's managing editor's office will shed any light on the truth remains to be seen. The tribunal must now decide whether the testimony of Sutton, who stormed out prematurely and refused to return, can be entered into evidence. If it cannot, O'Rourke wants to have the charges against Freeman thrown out.
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