Sutton storms out of medical tribunal after denying doping and lying
Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor clashes with QC during cross-examination
Shane Sutton, the former head coach of British Cycling and Team Sky, stormed out of a medical tribunal on Tuesday. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Shane Sutton, the former head coach of British Cycling and Team Sky, dramatically stormed out of a medical tribunal on Tuesday after denying accusations he was a doper and serial liar.
Under an astonishing to-and-fro during cross-examination, Sutton furiously denied that he had bullied Dr Richard Freeman, who he worked alongside, into ordering 30 sachets of Testogel, to treat his alleged erectile dysfunction.
Sutton, who branded Freeman, sitting behind a screen, as a “spineless individual” before walking out of the hearing, insisted he had no knowledge of the Testogel delivery in 2011 that is at the crux of the hearing into Freeman’s fitness to practice.
Sutton branded Freeman’s QC, Mary O’Rourke, as a “bully” during the cross-examination, and threatened to sue her for “defamation”, banging his fist on the table and, eventually, deciding to leave, saying O’Rourke was “accusing me of all kinds of things so I am leaving the hearing now. I don’t need to be dragged into this s**t fight.”
Dr Freeman had already accepted 18 of 22 charges against him at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, including that he ordered the banned Testogel to be sent to the Manchester velodrome and then lied to UK Anti-Doping about trying to cover it up.
However, he denies the UK General Medical Council (GMC) claim that he placed the order knowing it was for an unnamed rider to microdose testosterone, with his legal team placing the blame on to Sutton.
Sutton told the tribunal: “I have never ordered any Testogel, I swear on my three-year-old daughter’s life.” He then turned on Freeman, adding: “Richard take the screen down and look me in the eye. There’s a word spineless that comes into play.”
With the tribunal having earlier allowed the discussion of Sutton’s alleged erectile dysfunction as a central issue to the case, the coach railed against O’Rourke’s claims. “You are telling the press I can’t get a hard on – my wife wants to testify that you are a bloody liar.”
Shortly before lunch as the tribunal discussed whether Sutton should be allowed to give evidence by video link in Spain after his testimony has been delayed 24 hours by legal argument, Freeman’s defence underlined why they wanted him at the hearing.
“He is a habitual and serial liar,” claimed O’Rourke. “He is a doper, with a doping history.”
When Sutton was later asked at the tribunal if he rode in both the 80s and 90s when doping and testing regimes was different and less rigorous than it is today, he replied: “My career spanned 100 tests and every one was negative.”
“You have called me a serial liar but you don’t even know me. I just think you are totally out of order. An apology would be nice given you don’t even know me.
“I am prepared to take a lie detector test. Who is lying? The guy who isn’t prepared to look his friend in the eye. This is a guy who came to hospital when I had bleeding on the brain when he had no reason to. To me he is a bloody good doctor and a friend.”
Sutton, however, strenuously denied knowing about the delivery of Testogel in 2011.
Sutton said: “Can I ask – am I the one who is on trial here? I feel like I’m the criminal.’ In response, O’Rourke told him that they believed his “two witness statements to GMC are lies. Therefore, I have to test your credibility.”
Earlier on Tuesday the tribunal chair ruled that Dr Freeman’s health issues could be made public by the tribunal.
The tribunal also heard that the Daily Mail had acknowledged a request to give what O’Rourke claims is a secret affidavit from Sutton that is “totally inconsistent” with evidence he had given to a parliament inquiry into doping in sport.
O’Rourke has previously claimed that document was in the newspaper’s managing editor’s safe as ‚“an insurance policy against any potential claims for defamation by Sir Bradley Wiggins, Freeman or Sir Dave Brailsford” and that it contained “a number of lies”.
The tribunal continues.