André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Embattled Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown has put together a high-profile team of legal representatives as she begins her fight to clear her name and prevent a doping ban. However, the case has already been hit by several roadblocks.
Former Jamaican Prime Minister Percival James Patterson, a lawyer by profession, and high-profile overseas attorney Howard Jacobs led Campbell-Brown's defence during a two-and-a-half-hour, closed-door hearing at a Balmoral Avenue office yesterday afternoon.
"Yes, I am," offered Patterson briefly, when asked to confirm that he was, in fact, representing Campbell-Brown, before jumping into a waiting vehicle.
Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned substance at the May 4 Jamaica International Invitational at the National Stadium and was subsequently provisionally suspended by the JAAA.
Meanwhile, Jacobs is considered a celebrity attorney and has led several high-profile defences such as that of American sprinters Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones, as well as cyclist Floyd Landis, who were all involved in doping cases.
However, it wasn't long before the three-man Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Disciplinary Committee panel, led by former Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe, learnt of certain glaring issues concerning Campbell-Brown's case.
According to our information, Patterson, while underlining that he had a request for a pre-hearing conference meeting turned down by the JAAA, which stated that the relevant persons were busy with the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in Moscow, noted the absence of important documentation.
Witness statements not ready
In what has been described as a "disgraceful" turn of events by one person in yesterday's hearing, it was revealed that documents such as the chain-of-custody forms, as well as witness statements, had not been prepared and presented by the JAAA. It is understood that up to last yesterday evening, JAAA officials were trying to put the relevant documentation in place and were also only just trying to get in touch with the doping control officer and site coordinator for the meet, where the positive result was returned.
It was also reported that Patterson questioned the competence of the JAAA team and pointed out that several persons had travelled from overseas to honour the hearing and will now be required to stay in the island longer than expected.
Also present at yesterday's hearing were Campbell-Brown's husband Omar Brown, agent Claude Bryan, and a close friend.
The JAAA is being represented by Leonard Green.
President Dr Warren Blake, General Secretary Garth Gayle and Assistant Secretary Marie Tavares were also in attendance.
The hearing will resume today.