Hylton's suspension fundamentally repugnant - Crowne
Riker Hylton's attorney, Dr. Emir Crowne, said he had a busier day than he had expected in the preliminary anti-doping hearing of the 400 metres sprinter at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in Kingston yesterday.
Crowne set out to prove that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) had "fundamentally violated" World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules by provisionally suspending the national athlete while he faces trial. In doing this, he also requested that the suspension be lifted, much like 400m sprint hurdler Kaliese Spencer's attorney Paul Greene did in her case on Wednesday. Spencer and Hylton, although involved in separate cases, are both alleged to have failed to submit or evaded a sample request by a collection officer, under Article 2.3 of JADCO's rules. However, both athletes deny these allegations.
Crowne said that the provisional suspension not only violates WADA's code, but also the code of the Anti-Doping Act as he questioned JADCO's authority to issue such a suspension when it is the same entity bringing the case against his client.
"That process is completely at odds with - forget even sports law, basic natural justice principles," Crowne said. "There's no way that survives. It's exactly like if a police officer arrests you and says 'for your bail hearing, you're going to appear before the Commissioner of Police.' People would laugh at that process.
"This is how JADCO has been doing it since 2008 and there are dozens of athletes who have been affected by this. They've either given up or just said 'let's just get to the main hearing.' JADCO has no ability to conduct its own hearing. That is fundamentally repugnant."
Crowne said he is pushing this matter, not only for Hylton but also for future athletes who may find themselves in a similar situation. He describes it as being of "great national importance" that JADCO acts within the rules of the Anti-Doping Act.
JADCO's attorney Lackston Robinson argued against Crowne's suspension appeal, saying that it will raise what he described as jurisdictional issues, as he claimed the independent panel overseeing the case has no authority to make a decision on the matter.
The day's proceedings took longer than expected as it lasted just under two and a half hours. This was also because the two sides in the matter had a lengthy debate on the deadline for submitting documents to be presented as evidence in the trial.
The date of the official hearing was set for May 30 and 31 at 10 a.m. each day, however the preliminary hearing will continue at 2:30 this afternoon at the same venue.
The independent panel overseeing the hearing consists of Chairperson Georgia Gibson-Henlin QC, Japheth Ford, the medical representative and Denise Forrest, the sports representative.