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Freeman trial now not expected to begin until next week

Investigation into former Team Sky doctor unlikely to begin until Tuesday after another postponement request

British Cycling pursuit team 2007
Joe Robinson
8 Feb 2019

The tribunal into former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman has been further delayed, and is now not expected to begin until next week

Freeman was due to attend a medical practitioner's tribunal on Wednesday into allegations made by the General Medical Council (GMC) that the doctor had ordered the prohibited drug testosterone to the National Cycling Centre in 2011 to enhance the performance of a rider. 

But shortly before proceedings were set to begin, Freeman's legal representative Mary O'Rourke QC called for a private session to call for the investigation to be adjourned for 48 hours.

Private sessions can be called in a public enquiry if the subject matter for discussion is in relation to personal health or exceptional circumstances. The three tribunal members heading the case agreed, postponing the start until Friday morning.

The case did begin this morning at 9:30 as planned but again reconvened in private with the expectation that a further postponement would be discussed. It is now expected that the formal hearing will not begin before next week.

With both the GMC and Freeman's legal team submitting documents in regards to this latest submission, it is expected that the tribunal will deliberate through most of Monday with the trial not expected to begin properly until Tuesday.

Dr Freeman is under investigation after the GMC set accusations of doping athletes in his time with both Team Sky and British Cycling, attempting to conceal motive in regards to the ordering of 30 testosterone patches to the National Cycling Centre, lying and poor record keeping.

Following delivery of the performance-enhancing drug testogel in 2011, Freeman claimed the delivery of from Fit4Sport Limited was an error and intended for non-athlete use. 

While Freeman is not actually obliged to attend the tribunal, this latest last minute about-turn falls in line with previous non-appearances, firstly at the DCMS parliamentary investigation into doping in sport in 2017 and more recently at the Jess Varnish employment tribunal, in which he was called upon as a witness.

In an interview to promote his autobiography, Freeman admitted that he had suffered depression and had suicidal thoughts surrounding the jiffy-bag scandal and use of therapeutic use exemptions relating to 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins.

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