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Sutton will not return after walking out of Freeman hearing

Shane Sutton was former head coach at Team Sky and British Cycling
Shane Sutton was former head coach at Team Sky and British Cycling (Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Team Sky and British Cycling head coach Shane Sutton will not face further question during the medical tribunal investigating Dr Richard Freeman for an order of Testogel testosterone, with the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) confirming that psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters will be next to questioned, probably on Thursday, when the hearing resumes.

Sutton walked out of the tribunal on Tuesday afternoon after he was accused of being 'a doper' and 'a serial liar'  and a series of other accusations by Freeman's lawyer Mary O'Rourke.

He stormed out mid-hearing when O’Rourke suggested in a statement to the General Medical Council that he had assumed there was more than one box of Testogel placed in the order in 2011. 

“I don’t need to be dragged through this shitfight that this individual is trying to bring on me,” replied Sutton according to the Guardian newspaper. 

“I was asked to come here and answer whether I ordered Testogel. I did not.”

Sutton hinted to the media that he would not return outside the tribunal building in Manchester.

"I want to go away and reflect on what's been said and consider coming back on Thursday, and defend any allegations regarding the case," he said. 

"It's pretty disappointing the way I've been singled out and I feel I'm on trial. I need to go talk to my family and discuss whether I return to give any more evidence."

On Wednesday afternoon the MPTS confirmed that Sutton would not return but that Peters would be the next witness called by the GMC. 

Sutton, Freeman and Peters were all part of the senior management at British Cycling and Team Sky but the success and processes of the teams has come under scrutiny after it emerged the batch of Testogel testosterone sachets was sent to the Manchester velodrome in May 2011 where both British Cycling and Team Sky were based. 

Freeman has already accepted 18 of 22 charges against him, including that he ordered 30 sachets of Testogel and then lied to UK Anti-Doping about trying to cover it up. 

He denies the accusation formalized by the British General Medical Council that he made the Testogel order knowing it was for an unnamed athlete to microdose testosterone, which could spark a further investigation for doping at Team Sky (now Team Ineos) and British Cycling.

Freeman's legal team has claimed that the Testogel was for Sutton, who allegedly bullied Freeman into ordering the drug for personal use to treat erectile dysfunction. Sutton denied suffering from the condition.

"Our case about Mr Sutton is that he's a habitual and serial liar," O'Rourke said according to reports in The Guardian and other media, while justifying why she feels she needs to cross-examine Sutton in person. "He's a doper, with a doping history."

Sutton soon hit back when O'Rourke also claimed an anonymous witness told them about vials of testosterone Sutton had a fridge at his home in the late nineties. Sutton denied all the accusations.

"You have called me a serial liar but you don’t even know me. I just think you are totally out of order. An apology would be nice given you don't even know me," Sutton said during the hearing.

When O’Rourke put it to Sutton that he instructed Freeman to order the Testogel, Sutton said: "Now who's lying? You. I'm sorry but you're lying through your back teeth and so is your client. I can look you in the eye and swear on my three year-old daughter’s life, I never ordered it."

After nearly two hours of intense questioning and equally intense answers from Sutton, he abandoned the tribunal and warned he may not return. 

Despite the absence of Sutton, the hearing continues on Thursday.