Sat | Aug 19, 2017

'Carter's appeal has good chance'

Published:Friday | February 3, 2017 | 2:00 AMRachid Parchment
Sports lawyer Dr Emir Crowne
Jamaica's men's 4x100-metres relay team (from left) Michael Frater, Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter and Asafa Powell show off their gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
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Sports lawyer Dr Emir Crowne has said that Olympian Nesta Carter has a good chance of getting his 2008 Olympic gold medal back when his legal team submits an official appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Carter and his Beijing Games 4x100m relay teammates (Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Michael Frater and Dwight Thomas) were disqualified and had their medal stripped by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after he retroactively tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine.

Crowne was the attorney for Dominique Blake, another Jamaican athlete who tested positive for using the substance, but he had managed to get her a reduced ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

He told The Gleaner, during an interview at the University of the West Indies yesterday, that there is only one way that it would be possible for Carter and his teammates to reclaim their medal.

"The only way to get the medal back is to say that the substance was not listed in 2008. What the IOC did is decide it's similar to something called

2-Aminoheptane. The problem with that is there's a rule that says if something has similar effects or similar biological properties, it is also banned. That rule is designed to stop 'designer drugs'. The problem is methylhexaneamine was created in 1944 and was reintroduced in the United States in 2006, when ephedrine was banned. So it's not like methylhexaneamine is a designer drug. It should have been listed either as far back as 1944 or at least 2006, because it's materially unfair to athletes to have this 'catch-all' provision."

NATURAL JUSTICE CONCERN

To strengthen his point, Crowne compared the situation to banning a basic necessity for all athletes.

"If I say hydrogen peroxide, or something biologically similar to it, is banned, is water now banned?" Crowne asked. "Under that rule, water is banned! Are we trying to stop people from drinking water?!"

Crowne said that not listing the substance, at the time he mentioned, breaches the principles of natural justice and said that it is unfair of the IOC. This is especially since the IOC constitution says that the rule is designed to prevent "designer drugs", and he does not find methylhexaneamine to be one.

The sports lawyer expects the appeal process at CAS to take as long as up to six months to return a ruling.

"If there's even any hope of it (the ruling) being overturned, there's going to be pressure on WADA and the IOC to ensure that it gets its best experts lined up to testify, like they always do in every hearing.

"From the time you file a CAS appeal, it should be done within six months. That's normal time frame, but with the vested interest in this case, it may drag on longer, but it would be one of the more precedent-setting cases in light of the doping climate we're in now. It will also take three to four days for arguments in this case."

Crowne said he has reached out to Carter's legal team to aid in their appeal and said that he is willing to work for a reduced fee or even pro bono (without charge).