Dr Richard Freeman tribunal: GMC case ‘all over the place’ – Mary O’Rourke

Dr Richard Freeman and defence team

The General Medical Council case against former British Cycling and Team Sky chief doctor Richard Freeman was “all over the place”, a medical tribunal has been told.

Freeman denies having testosterone delivered to the national velodrome in 2011 in order to help an athlete to dope.

Summing up Freeman’s case, Mary O’Rourke QC said: “You’ve got to beware red herrings.

“There are many of them in this case.”

She added: “It looks like the GMC, British Cycling and whoever have trawled through anything that might assist in discrediting Dr Freeman, or show him in a bad light.”

Freeman has been accused by the GMC of ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to the National Velodrome in 2011 “knowing or believing” the banned drug was intended to boost an athlete’s performance.

He has admitted 18 of 22 charges against him, including initially lying to try to cover up the order and misleading a UK Anti-Doping investigation.

But Freeman denies the remaining four charges, including the central accusation he helped to dope a rider, saying he was bullied into ordering the drug by former British Cycling and Team Sky performance director Shane Sutton to treat his erectile dysfunction.

Sutton has denied those claims, claiming Freeman is lying.

“I am negatively attacking the GMC’s case because of the burden of proof and, out of the mess of the evidence they called, running hither and thither, they haven’t got a clear idea of what they are saying, what they are proving,” added O’Rourke.

“There are two sides to every story. At times it seemed like there were four or five sides to the GMC’s story. They had no direct evidence.”

She added that the GMC had a “confusing, changing position on Mr Sutton”.

“It was always a puzzle as to who, on the GMC’s evidence, the intended recipient of the Testogel was,” said O’Rourke.

In summing up the GMC’s case, Richard Jackson QC accused the doctor of “a careful campaign of self-preservation”.

O’Rourke said she was “so shocked” that Jackson also claimed Freeman had ordered the Testogel in order to “impress” Sutton, who wanted it for an athlete.

“This was a truly stunning submission so late in the case,” she said.

The hearing was adjourned until 12 February, when O’Rourke is scheduled to complete her summing up. A decision is expected in March.

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