Shane Sutton's evidence ruled 'admissible' in Dr Richard Freeman tribunal
Last Updated: 06/12/19 3:49pm
Shane Sutton's evidence at the hearing of former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman is admissible, a tribunal ruled on Friday.
Sutton, the former head coach at the two organisations, stormed out of the hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester on November 12 after being angered by the questioning from Dr Freeman's QC Mary O'Rourke.
O'Rourke had argued that Sutton's evidence should be disregarded because he did not complete it but, after deliberating for a week, the tribunal ruled it is admissible in a blow to Freeman's case.
O'Rourke said: "I am surprised by your decision on Mr Sutton's evidence. It's not what I anticipated.
"We think you've got this really wrong. We think you've skewered things to put it mildly. We think you've ignored a significant number of points that I made."
Dr Freeman is accused of ordering 30 sachets of testosterone gel in May 2011 knowing or believing it was for use by an athlete to improve performance.
He denies this, and claims he was bullied into ordering it by Sutton. Dr Freeman further claimed that Sutton wanted the gel to treat erectile dysfunction.
Sutton strenuously denied those claims and walked out before Dr Freeman's barrister Mary O'Rourke QC had completed her cross-examination.
Prior to Sutton appearing at the hearing, O'Rourke had described him as a "serial liar" and "a doper with a doping history", accusations Sutton strongly denies.
The decision of the tribunal on Friday read: "The tribunal determined that Mr Sutton's unwillingness to continue to be cross-examined arose directly out of his perception of unfairness and bullying engendered by Ms O'Rourke's approach to him, an approach he perceived to have begun even before he had entered the hearing room.
"There was an objective and understandable basis to warrant Mr Sutton forming the said perception."
Importantly, the panel also said Sutton's evidence "is not sole or decisive regarding the outstanding matters".
Dr Freeman was present at the hearing on Friday for the first time since Sutton's evidence, after which he sought an appointment with his psychiatrist.
Dr Freeman has admitted 18 charges, including that he ordered the testosterone gel and that he lied to British Cycling colleagues about it.
He has also admitted charges related to record-keeping and to prescribing medicine to non-athlete members of staff.