Court Urges AFL To Consider Essendon Doctor's Push For Independent Hearing
Pressure is intensifying on the Australian Football League "to resolve the last outstanding dispute in the Essendon supplements saga, with a Supreme Court judge urging it to consider club doctor Bruce Reid's push for an independent hearing of charges against him," according to Pia Akerman of THE AUSTRALIAN. Reid has launched action in the Victorian Supreme Court in a bid to block the AFL from hearing the charge that "he brought the game into disrepute through his alleged involvement in allowing players to be administered with exotic and potentially risky supplements." Lawyers for the respected medico Thursday "blasted the AFL and its chairman Mike Fitzpatrick at the case's first hearing," accusing the league of showing malevolence and a "hunger for conviction" against Reid throughout the Essendon inquiry. Judge David Beach questioned the AFL's barrister Jeff Gleeson on why the AFL refused to have the charge heard by an independent arbiter, given its commission would be criticized as a "kangaroo court" if Reid eventually lost. Beach said, "It's a once-in-a-generation case" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/6). In Canberra, Adam Cooper wrote senior coach James Hird, assistant coach Mark Thompson and Football Manager Danny Corcoran all accepted penalties, but Reid's barrister, Ross Gillies, said that there was more at stake for Reid "given his role and reputation as a medical practitioner." Gillies: "It's fundamentally an allegation that he hasn't done enough to protect his patients, a serious allegation against a doctor" (CANBERRA TIMES, 9/5). Also in Canberra, Jon Tuxworth wrote a ruling on whether Hird retains his Australian Capital Territory Sports Hall of Fame status could be weeks away, "with the board deferring a decision to seek further advice." The board debated the situation for 45 minutes on Thursday "but voted unanimously to put a final call on hold until it knows the full story behind the Bombers supplements saga" (CANBERRA TIMES, 9/6).