Selasa, 12 Agustus 2014

Gillard government, AFL offered ASADA help to speed up Essendon inquiry, court told (ABC)

The Gillard government and AFL offered extra legal and financial assistance to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) to speed up the investigation into Essendon Football Club's supplements program, a court has heard.

Essendon is challenging ASADA's authority to conduct a joint investigation with the AFL into the club's 2012 supplements program.

The Federal Court was told former prime minister Julia Gillard and her sports minister Kate Lundy wanted the investigation completed before the federal election in September 2013, and the AFL wanted to use information to take action against Essendon.

ASADA operations manager Trevor Burgess told the court he met with Richard Eccles, a deputy secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, who offered extra help to expedite the investigation, which was not due to be completed until the end of 2013.

Mr Burgess said Mr Eccles told him that the AFL was planning to use ASADA's information to sanction the club.

Two months before action was taken, Mr Burgess said, the "ducks were all lined up", Essendon coach James Hird would get "six months or longer" and the AFL "will go them" - a reference to Essendon support staff.

Mr Eccles also revealed that the AFL wanted ASADA to "be the bad guys", he said.

AFL set up ASADA interviews with Essendon players, court told

The hearing was told the AFL set up the ASADA interviews with Essendon players.

ASADA investigator Aaron Walker told the court that he would contact AFL investigator Abrahran Hadad, who would organise interview times for Essendon players.

But Mr Walker denied ASADA had run a joint investigation with the AFL, despite admitting there were references in emails to a "joint investigation".

The court was told that the AFL attended the interviews and used the material to lay disciplinary charges against players and staff.

Hird was fined and suspended for bringing the game into disrepute.

Hird and Essendon have challenged the investigation claiming ASADA acted outside its powers and improperly provided information to the AFL.

ASADA needed the AFL's coercive powers to compel players and staff to attend interviews and answer questions.

Federal Court Judge Justice John Middleton said it did not matter what it was labelled, he had to work out what the term" joint investigation" actually meant.

The hearing will conclude later today after closing arguments.

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