Freeman: I told ‘lot of lies’ over testos­terone

Team Sky doc­tor ad­mits mis­lead­ing GMC in­quiry Coach Sutton de­nies or­der­ing drug pack­age

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By Ben Rumsby SPORT IN­VES­TI­GA­TIONS RE­PORTER

The doc­tor ac­cused of buy­ing testos­terone for an un­named rider while work­ing for Team Sky and Bri­tish Cy­cling has ad­mit­ted telling “a lot of lies” about the case, a med­i­cal tri­bunal into his con­duct heard yes­ter­day.

But Dr Richard Freeman has also de­nied a de­liv­ery of the banned sub­stance to the head­quar­ters of both or­gan­i­sa­tions had been in­tended – on his part – for use by an ath­lete, ac­cord­ing to his lawyer, who claimed he had been acting at the be­hest of for­mer col­league Shane Sutton.

On an ex­plo­sive open­ing day of his resched­uled Med­i­cal Prac­ti­tion­ers Tri­bunal Ser­vice hear­ing in Manch­ester, Mary O’rourke, Freeman’s QC, said her client had told “a lot of lies” about his May 2011 order of Testo­gel, which is at the cen­tre of the case brought against him by the Gen­eral Med­i­cal Coun­cil.

She told the three-strong MPTS panel Freeman pre­vi­ously could “not bring him­self to tell the truth, even to his lawyers”, but had done in a wit­ness state­ment last month.

Quot­ing her client, who stands to lose his med­i­cal li­cence if the tri­bunal finds against him, she added: “I am here now. This is the truth.”

Freeman, who quit as Bri­tish Cy­cling team doc­tor in Oc­to­ber 2017 following what he last year said had been “sui­ci­dal thoughts” over var­i­ous ac­cu­sa­tions against him, had pre­vi­ously given ev­i­dence about the testos­terone de­liv­ery dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions by UK Anti-dop­ing and the GMC.

He had even done so ahead of an ad­journed MPTS tri­bunal into the al­le­ga­tions against him ear­lier this year, at which he failed to ap­pear for health rea­sons.

Those ac­cu­sa­tions in­clude that he: or­dered 30 sa­chets of Testo­gel from Old­ham-based Fit4s­port Lim­ited with the mo­tive of im­prov­ing the per­for­mance of an ath­lete; made an un­true state­ment that the order had been made in er­ror; re­quested a writ­ten con­fir­ma­tion that the order had been made in er­ror five months af­ter the de­liv­ery; and made un­true state­ments that the order had been in­tended for a non-ath­lete mem­ber of staff and was sub­se­quently re­turned.

O’rourke told the panel Freeman ad­mit­ted or­der­ing the Testo­gel, but de­nied do­ing so with the in­ten­tion of it be­ing used by a rider, ac­cus­ing the GMC of hav­ing “no ev­i­dence from an ath­lete” that this was the case. She al­leged the order had been placed at the re­quest of Sutton, then Bri­tish Cy­cling tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, who had also been on the staff of Team Sky and a per­sonal coach to Sir Bradley Wig­gins. Sutton de­nies any knowl­edge of the order.

The panel also granted a re­quest by Freeman that he be screened from Sutton when the lat­ter tes­ti­fied and that he him­self be screened from the me­dia when giv­ing his own side of the story.

Rep­re­sent­ing the GMC, Simon Jack­son QC re­quested that there be an amend­ment to its case against Freeman in light of his Sept 24 wit­ness state­ment and in­di­cated the tri­bunal would hear from an en­docri­nol­o­gist who would demon­strate that the “pa­tient” for whom Freeman claims the sub­stance was or­dered had no med­i­cal need for it.

O’rourke ob­jected to the use of the word “pa­tient” and said it was fairer to frame her client’s ac­tions as a re­sponse to a re­quest from a mem­ber of staff.

The hear­ing, which was ad­journed un­til Tues­day, is ex­pected to ex­am­ine the cir­cum­stances around the de­liv­ery of the testos­terone prod­uct, which has a his­tory of abuse in cy­cling and other sports, and an ex­change of pa­per­work be­tween Bri­tish Cy­cling and Fit4s­port.

Freeman – also at the cen­tre of con­tro­ver­sies over Wig­gins’s use of Ther­a­peu­tic Use Ex­emp­tions and a Jiffy bag de­liv­ered to the same rider in 2011 – is ad­di­tion­ally ac­cused of: ad­min­is­ter­ing non-ur­gent med­i­cal treat­ment to non-ath­lete mem­bers of staff and on three oc­ca­sions not in­form­ing their GPS; fail­ing to keep ap­pro­pri­ate med­i­cal records and make them re­triev­able – in­clud­ing those re­lat­ing to the treat­ment of Wig­gins – af­ter his lap­top was stolen; and in­ap­pro­pri­ate man­age­ment of pre­scrip­tion-only medicine.

Un­der scru­tiny: Dr Richard Freeman says he is ready to tell the truth to a med­i­cal tri­bunal

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