Richard Freeman: Tribunal dismiss bid to have remaining charges thrown out
By PA Media
Last Updated: 17/12/19 3:15pm
A bid to have the remaining charges against former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman thrown out was dismissed by a tribunal on Friday.
Dr Freeman's lawyer Mary O'Rourke had argued there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges brought by the General Medical Council that Dr Freeman ordered testosterone gel to British Cycling headquarters in 2011 knowing or believing it was to be given to an athlete for doping purposes.
But, after two days of deliberations, Neil Dalton, the chair of the panel at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, said: "There is a case to answer.
The panel's decision took into account a "pattern of admitted dishonesty" from Dr Freeman, who initially denied ordering the drug before finally admitting that he had lied to colleagues and UK Anti-Doping.
Dr Freeman has admitted 18 charges relating to the ordering of the testosterone and other matters, including his record keeping, but denies four others.
The hearing was due to end next week but it now seems highly likely it will extend into the New Year, and potentially well into 2020 given prior commitments for those involved.
Dr Freeman, who has a long-standing diagnosis of bipolar disorder, was again absent from the hearing on Friday morning, as he had been all week, for an appointment with his psychiatrist.
The tribunal's ruling means he will now have to give evidence but when that happens remains a matter of some doubt.
Dr Freeman travelled to Manchester on Friday lunchtime but was not present in the hearing room when proceedings resumed, with O'Rourke saying her client was "too emotional".
She added: "There has been a crisis (in his mental health) in the last three or four days - as a lay person, a serious crisis."
Dr Freeman was due to consult with another doctor on Saturday and proceedings were adjourned until Monday morning, when discussion on the next steps was expected to resume.