Russell anti-doping hearing pushed to September 28

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Andre Russell’s anti-doping hearing, looking into the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission’s (JADCO) claim that the West Indies all-rounder had missed three dope tests in a 12-month period, resulting in a whereabouts-clause violation, has been adjourned to September 28.

According to the WADA code, three missed tests amount to a failed dope test and the athlete could face a ban of up to two years. Russell was present at the hearing in Kingston, having skipped the three-T20I series against Pakistan in the UAE, citing “personal reasons”.

On September 19, Russell’s lawyer, Patrick Forster, argued in front of the independent anti-doping disciplinary commission that the burden of proof was on JADCO to show Russell was negligent in fulfilling his whereabouts-clause obligations on January 1, July 1 and July 25, 2015, when he was supposed to undergo out-of-competition dope tests.

“The thrust of our case is that the doping authority, JADCO, must prove negligence that has to emerge in the context of the evidence as it is given, so that is, essentially, our position. The burden of proof is on JADCO,” Forster told the Jamaica Gleaner.

“I don’t want to comment too much on the details of the evidence in the midst of cross-examining the witness, but a good portion of the cross-examination relates to the July to September quarter, where JADCO recorded two filing failures, so in cross-examination, I am just questioning the basis which they arrived at two filing failures for the same quarter.”

After preliminary hearings in late July, the independent panel comprising Hugh Faulkner (chairman), Dr Marjorie Vassell, and former Jamaica cricketer Dixeth Palmer, was supposed to carry out a two-day hearing starting Monday. However, it was curtailed because a second key witness, Carey Brown, the JADCO’s executive director, could not be present as he was recovering from an accident.

Monday’s hearing began with JADCO’s legal counsel, attorney Lackston Johnson, explaining to the panel how Russell had failed to respond despite being sent reminders three times.

Forster cross-examined the first witness Nadia Vassell, the whereabouts officer and director of technical services at JADCO. According to the Jamaica Observer, Vassell told Forster that a first reminder was sent to Russell through a letter on July 6, 2015. An extension was given to Russell to file his whereabouts by July 13, 2015. On July 20, Vassell sent another email to Russell asking him to file his whereabouts by July 24.

According to the Observer the panel was likely to dispose of the case by October 7. (ESPNCricinfo)

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