Australian Football League Side Essendon Lawyer Says Doping Case Could Destroy Club
Australian Football League side Essendon lawyer Neil Young fears a Federal Court finding against the club could "effectively destroy its business," according to Pierik & Cooper of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. With suspended Essendon coach James Hird and his wife Tania watching from the "back corner of the court on Monday, lawyers for Essendon, Hird" and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority "outlined their opening arguments on the legalities of a joint investigation between the anti-doping body and the AFL." Young then warned Justice John Middleton that if ASADA's investigation "was cleared, meaning the show-cause notices distributed to 34 current and former players stood, there could be dire consequences for the club and its multi-million dollar business." Young: "If there is prejudice against the players, there is effectively prejudice against the business ... (it could) effectively destroy its business" (SMH, 8/11). In Sydney, Chip Le Grand reported Young said the joint investigation was "invalid from the moment it was formed." Young: "From its very inception, the investigation was invalid and unlawful." Essendon and Hird’s case is that ASADA had "no power to conduct a joint investigation, provide confidential information to the AFL and to supply the AFL with a 'tailored' interim report to prosecute disciplinary charges against the club and its staff" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/11). In Melbourne, Pierik & Cooper reported a solicitor for Essendon made a "secret recording" of an ASADA official addressing Bombers players after the football club had "begged" the anti-doping body to speak to the players. Representing ASADA, Daniel Star said Essendon solicitor Tony Hargreaves made a recording of that address and that Essendon now wanted to use the "covert secret transcript" as evidence in the case before Middleton. Star accused Essendon of running a "trial by ambush" by trying to have the transcript "introduced as evidence after submissions were made" (THE AGE, 8/11).