Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman “crossed the line and went way beyond it”, a tribunal hearing was told on Friday. Almost two years after it started, the fitness-to-practice hearing has finally reached the summing up stage, with General Medical Council QC Simon Jackson setting out his case first.
Freeman has already admitted 18 of the 22 charges against him, including ordering testosterone to British Cycling headquarters in 2011 and lying about it. But denies he did so knowing or believing it was to be administered to a rider for the purposes of doping.
Jackson questioned why Freeman would be prepared to risk his reputation and the health of a rider in his care.
“The GMC (General Medical Council) submit that these questions are easily answered,” Jackson said.
“That he did it because, as the lead team doctor, (it was his job) to have riders fit and ready to deliver the expected performance and the expected results.
“The GMC’s case is that Dr. Freeman was an ambitious doctor but prone to lauding his achievements and his capabilities.
“The GMC submit that Dr. Freeman was also a risk taker and was knowingly prepared to put others at risk with his prescribing practices. The GMC’s case is that Dr. Freeman didn’t just push up to the line. Instead, he crossed the line and went way beyond it.”
Freeman claims he ordered the testosterone – in the form of Testogel sachets – because he had been bullied into it by former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton to treat the Australian’s erectile disfunction.
Sutton categorically denied that in an explosive day of evidence in 2019. “There is a truism in life that it’s not the lie that gets you, it’s the cover-up, and what a cover-up it’s been,” Jackson said.
“Drawing in other people who became casualties in their own way of Dr. Freeman’s careful campaign of self-preservation. This certainly continued up to 2019 and we submit into 2020 and the evidence he’s given in these proceedings.”
Freeman has had a second application for an adjournment of the case rejected.
He is involved in administering the coronavirus vaccine but the GMC and the tribunal service do not want a further delay.
The hearing continues on Monday, with both sides expected to conclude their cases next week before a verdict in March.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini