Mullings' lawyers challenge integrity of sample
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission's (JADCo) Doping Control Officer, Dr Paul Wright, chaperone Dorel Savage and Cara Ann Bennett of JADCo took the stand yesterday at the two-day disciplinary hearing into sprinter Steve Mullings' adverse analytical finding following his competing at the National Athletics Championships, held during the last week of June this year.
Mullings did not attend the hearing.
In documents filed by his lawyers, the athlete stated his reason, saying: "It's due to the fact that I fear for my life in Jamaica. I've been informed it is not safe for me to spend any amount of time in Jamaica at this time."
This comes against the fact that Mullings claims the positive test was a 'set up'.
Mullings was vying for a spot on Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Athletic Championships in Daegu, South Korea, but his urine sample taken after he finished third in the final of the men's 100-metre final showed traces of the diuretic Furosemide.
Mullings, who has vehemently stated that he is innocent, was subsequently withdrawn from Jamaica's squad to the World Championships and now faces a lifetime ban if his legal team is unable to convince the JADCo disciplinary panel of his innocence.
On yesterday's first day at the Institute of Jamaica, the first witness called, Dr Wright, a Doping Control Officer of JADCo, told the panel of Lennox Gayle, Peter Prendergast and Dr Japheth Forde that he was in control of the doping area on June 25 and saw Mullings come in and he collected his (Mullings') sample.
The sample, he said, was sealed and placed in a styrofoam container.
Dr Wright said he took that container and placed it in a vault.
The sample was allowed to remain in that vault for two days and it was then taken by him (June 27) to Federal Express to be sent to the testing laboratory in Canada.
The FedEx package containing the sample did not arrive at its destination until June 30.
Olando Terrelonge and Patrick Bailey, the attorneys representing Mullings, who was not present, challenged the integrity of the sample. They are contending that while the urine sample was in the vault, Dr Wright was unable to say who had access to the sample and how many people visited the vault during that time. They also contend that Dr Wright was unable to say what route it took before it got to Canada, and then he was not present when the seal on the sample was broken after it arrived at the lab in Canada.
Cara-Ann Bennett, the results manager at JADCo, took the witness stand and produced photocopies of documents associated with Mullings' urine sample, but his attorneys challenged the veracity of the documents.
They cited that on one of those documents there was a mistake made and a subsequent amendment. They are unable to verify who made the amendment.
Ultimately, they took the stance that they needed to see the original documents to satisfy their client's concerns over whether those documents were authentic. The panel agreed.
Lackston Robinson is representing JADCo.