André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Drama.There was a lot of it as Jamaican sprinting standout Veronica Campbell-Brown started her defence against doping charges yesterday.
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Dr Warren Blake, with a folder blocking his face from curious photographers, and Campbell-Brown stepping straight out of a building and into a waiting car before being whisked away, were the lasting images from yesterday's episode.
Day One of Campbell-Brown's hearing into her positive drug test from the May 4 Jamaica International Invitational meet at times brought with it the intrigue more common at a court hearing for a homicide suspect.
For more than two hours, media representatives waited outside the Balmoral Avenue offices of attorney-at-law Winston Spaulding, a location that was supposed to be kept secret; and at one point, security personnel even tried to get reporters off the property.
But as the group emerged, led by JAAA Disciplinary Committee chairman and former Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe, retired Major General John Simmonds and Dr Aggrey Irons, it was clear that not a lot would be said on this occasion.
A telling smile from the athlete's lead attorney, P.J. Patterson, a former prime minister of Jamaica and a few serious faces from representatives from the JAAA, added what some would call unnecessary drama to yesterday's post-hearing proceedings.
Campbell-Brown herself was barely spotted, as a specially positioned vehicle, driven by her husband Omar Brown, waited two strides away for the well-decorated Jamaican sprinter.
The 31-year-old superstar, who has won 16 medals for Jamaica at the Olympic and World Championships level, is looking to clear her name after the presence of a banned diuretic was found in her system at the May 4 Jamaica International Invitational, resulting in a provisional suspension pending the outcome of the hearing.
Important Documents Not Prepared
However, the hearing already had its first setback yesterday with the drama obviously not confined to the outside.
It was revealed that the JAAA and the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission had not prepared and presented important documents - particularly the witness statements and chain-of-command reports - meaning that not much could have been accomplished yesterday.
JAAA sources insist that everything will be in place for today's second day of the hearing, but according to information reaching The Gleaner, Patterson and the rest of Campbell-Brown's team were particularly upset because the former prime minister had requested a pre-hearing meeting with the JAAA, which was turned down because all the authorised individuals were said to be busy with the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Also present yesterday were Campbell-Brown's agent Claude Bryan; celebrity US-based lawyer Howard Jacob, who is also part of the athlete's legal team; Dr Paul Wright; JAAA General Secretary Garth Gayle; and Assistant Secretary Marie Tavares.