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'Fundamental' flaw - VCB lawyer says CAS' decision based on serious breakdown in urine collection procedures

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM

 Eight months after testing positive for a banned substance, Veronica Campbell-Brown is now free to resume her career.

And while they await the full reasons behind yesterday's ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Howard Jacobs - a member of the Jamaican sprinter's legal team - is pointing to a breakdown in the athlete's sample collection and questions about the integrity of same, as "clear" reasons for the CAS' decision.

Campbell-Brown and her legal team, which also includes former Jamaican prime minister, Percival James Patterson, took their case to the CAS, after the sport's world governing body - International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) - rejected a public warning recommendation made by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Disciplinary Panel and ruled that the sprinter face a two-year penalty.

Campbell-Brown's case was expedited by the IAAF.

Part payment of fees

Jacob also underlined that the IAAF and JAAA will be responsible for paying a portion of the fees associated with Campbell-Brown's appeal to the CAS. Though he did not indicate the amount, it normally cost in the region of US$100,000 (J$10.7 million).

The JAAA Disciplinary Panel hearing took place in camera for three days, but was wrought with reports of delays of important documentation such as the chain of custody forms for the sample taken from the athlete, as well as relevant witness statements.

"Because the CAS hearing was completed on an extremely expedited basis, the full reasons for the award have not yet been issued, and may not be issued for a few months," Jacob explained.

"However, it is clear that the reason for the decision was a serious and fundamental breakdown in the manner in which Veronica Campbell-Brown's urine sample was collected and handled in Jamaica on May 4, 2013, such that the integrity of the sample was not maintained, and the results of any testing on that sample were, therefore, unreliable," he added.

"As a result, the CAS has also ordered the JAAA (and to a lesser degree the IAAF) to pay a portion of Veronica Campbell-Brown's legal costs in connection with this CAS appeal," Jacob noted.

No comment

The IAAF declined to comment in detail on the CAS ruling, indicating that they are awaiting the full report from the arbitrators.

"The IAAF was made aware earlier today (yesterday) of the CAS judgement, but has not received the full-reasoned decision and, therefore, will not make any comments about the decision at this stage," said IAAF spokesman Nick Davies.

"We can, however, confirm that the athlete, Veronica-Campbell-Brown, is now free to compete," Davis assured.

Meanwhile, in a release to the media yesterday, Campbell-Brown said that she is redeemed following the CAS judgement.

"Yes, I lost out on the opportunity to compete for most of 2013, and the chance to defend my World 200m title. However, I press on. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the redemptive quality of unearned suffering, and I must say I am redeemed," Campbell-Brown said.