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Tuesday 12, Apr 2016

  Growth Hormones Were Given To Victorian Special Operations Group Members

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The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court has heard that an associate of key figures in the Essendon doping scandal provided members of Victoria Police’s elite Special Operations Group with growth hormones.

The Court heard that a sergeant and his colleague from the Special Operations Group were patients of Robin James Taylor, who was charged with possessing anabolic steroids and Testosterone after his Melbourne Sport Medicine and Anti-Aging Clinic was raided in October 2013, along with a member of the Hells Angels bikies club. Taylor once used to work at Shane Charter’s doctor ageless clinic. Shane provided growth hormones and peptides to Essendon Sports scientist Stephen Dank.

The officer, who cannot be named, told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court Taylor provided him with growth hormones SARMS 22 and GHRP 6 that help with muscle growth. The unnamed official admitted before the Court that he used the drugs to find relief from a shoulder injury. The officer said his blood test results were discussed by the controversial clinic owner and he was thereafter provided with the medication.

The officer also remarked Taylor’s co-accused doctor Hoong Pan Sze-Tho was in the room but did not speak during the consultation. The SOG member said Taylor left the room and came back with medication and added that we were shown some medication and then given some Intel on how to use that medication and the name on the packets were SARMS 22 and GHRP 6.

Taylor’s wife Georgina Matta has also been charged along with a doctor, Hoong Pan Sze-Tho, and the clinic’s receptionist, Amy Lee Gorgievski. Taylor faces more than 70 charges including trafficking other anabolic androgenic steroids, importing prohibited goods, and obtaining property by deception by purporting to be a licensed medical practitioner. Dr Sze-Tho faces 242 charges that include trafficking anabolic steroids and prescribing testosterone for other than medical treatment while Ms Matta is charged with 55 similar offences. The offences are alleged to have occurred between January 2012, and October 2013.

An audit by the Department of Health at a Chemist Warehouse pharmacist near Taylor’s Ascot Vale clinic found Dr Sze-Tho was ordering very huge amounts of testosterone that Taylor or his wife would pick up from the clinic. It was disclosed by Chris Falke, Manager of Compliance at Department of Human Services that some of the prescriptions were for 90 injections and that is an extraordinary quantity. Falke added he would say prescribing 90 injections is very difficult to justify in any circumstances.

Doping in sports is not new but rare in Australian sports. During 2013, Australia recorded 35 drugs offences, and most of these cases were from bodybuilding and Rugby (including both Union and League). Australia’s positive drug tests according to figures from the World Anti-Doping Agency were bodybuilding (seven), bowling (one), boxing (one), cycling (two), netball (one), powerlifting (four), aquatics (two cases), athletics (three), AFL (three), motorsports (one), baseball (one), rugby (six), triathlon (one), weightlifting (one) and wrestling (one). Russia had 225 drugs cases in 2013 and Turkey had a total of 188 drugs cases.

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Monday 06, Apr 2015

  Anti-Doping Agencies Around The World Support ASADA Chief

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Anti-Doping Agencies Around The World Support ASADA Chief

Messages of support have been pouring in for Ben McDevitt, chief of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), after the precedent set by the not-guilty verdict for the Essendon doping scandal where all 34 former and current players of the club were held not guilty.

The heads of anti-doping agencies in the UK, US, France, and Germany contacted McDevitt with messages of support, which may raise the possibility of appeal. McDevitt also received support from the current federal sports minister, Sussan Ley, and her predecessor, Peter Dutton.

McDevitt has just over two weeks to appeal the judgment. ASADA is expected to release its findings on Dank after the Easter break. The World Anti-Doping Agency has a further 21 days to appeal after the deadline of ASADA expires and is expected to take its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a body chaired by IOC vice-president and AOC president, John Coates.

The AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal found it was not comfortably satisfied that former and current Essendon players committed the anti-doping rule violation of use of the prohibited substance, Thymosin Beta 4, during the 2012 season. The Tribunal was however “comfortably satisfied” under rule 16.1 of the anti-doping code that Shane Charter,  a self-styled anti-ageing consultant who arranged for the importation of peptides supplied to Essendon in December 2011, sourced what he believed to be Thymosin beta 4 from China. The tribunal refused to be satisfied that that pharmacist Nima Alavi compounded what he believed to be the drug and gave 26 vials of what he believed to be the same drug to Stephen Dank.

Lawyer Natalie Hickey, who has followed the case closely, remarked it is impossible and unfair even to attempt answering this without access to the detailed reasons. Natalie added the better question is whether the AFL appeals board would bring fresh eyes, and different life experiences, to the evidence, with the prospect of a different point of view. Natalie also remarked that the Bombers were charged under clause 11.2 of the old code but this is now clause 10.2 under the revised code and added that the new code changes the approach the appeals board will take to an appeal, depending on the nature of the charges laid. Hickey also commented that the amendment of another clause may mean that “the task for ASADA on appeal would be easier.”

Hickey also said those new provisions enable the appeals board essentially to consider matters afresh, in what is called a ‘de novo’ hearing and said the appeals board need not defer to the discretion of the AFL tribunal. Natalie also said the prior proceedings also do not limit the evidence or carry weight in the hearing before the appeals board and added the standard of proof the appeals board must apply is also ‘comfortable satisfaction’.”

Meanwhile, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and Essendon chairman Paul Little have already expressed their hope that ASADA does not appeal so that the Australian Football League can be free of the controversy that has clouded it for more than two years.

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Saturday 04, Apr 2015

  Stephen Dank To Reportedly Sue ASADA

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Stephen Dank To Reportedly Sue ASADA

Controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank has reportedly remarked that he will sue the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and its chief executive Ben McDevitt for defamation in the wake of the Essendon doping scandal.

The sports scientist said his lawyers will take action against ASADA and McDevitt after the anti-doping agency said it was evaluating the option of appealing against decision of the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal to clear 34 former and current Essendon players of all charges. McDevitt accused Dank in a press conference of sending mixed messages about whether there were records of what injections Essendon players were administered. McDevitt remarked no party has disputed that Stephen Dank played a central and critical role, the lead role in administering the injections.

The ASADA Chief Executive also remarked Stephen Dank has publicly stated that extensive records of the injection regime were kept but, throughout this investigation, no such records have been found. McDevitt also said that Dank curiously in a statutory declaration provided to ASADA, in response to a disclosure notice, declared he had no documents to produce and added that all the evidence that he have seen probably would indicate if there were records, they would be shambolic and chaotic.

McDevitt also went on to remark that the case is not yet closed and Essendon players took banned drugs in a 2012 injection program.

Meanwhile, Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley said regardless of the tribunal’s verdict, the initial report found an experimental environment that was never adequately controlled. She said any injection of unknown substances into athletes in order to push the boundaries of sporting achievement is unacceptable and added it shows a complete disregard for player safety and welfare.

The ASADA head however admitted that the anti-doping agency had powers to force Dank to testify.

Recently, Dank said ASADA had been very, very poor in their conduct, execution and understanding of this whole investigation. The scientist said the players never took anything that was illegal or anything that was against the WADA-prohibited list and added the players were not guilty of anything and he is very happy for the players.

McDevitt said findings of the upcoming decision by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal on the role of Dank in the supplements program some time after Easter would not determine whether the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority lodges an appeal but they might have some influence. The chief executive said we eagerly await that component from the tribunal because Stephen Dank was the alleged architect here and so it will be very interesting to see what the findings are, and what the reasons behind those findings are from the tribunal and also commented that it will certainly enable us to make a more informed decision on our appeal.

Steven Amendola, the lawyer who represented James Hird throughout the scandal, said Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief executive Ben McDevitt, his AFL opposite number Gillon McLachlan, most of the AFL Commission, and AFL competition integrity manager Brett Clothier should all submit their resignations over the ordeal.

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