Freeman lawyer calls for GMC pressure on Daily Mail to release documents

Dr Richard Freeman and defence team

Mary O’Rourke (left) is defending Dr Richard Freeman (second left) at the medical tribunal in Manchester

Dr Richard Freeman’s lawyer has urged the General Medical Council to exert more pressure on the Daily Mail to release documents she says are related to his medical tribunal case.

Former British Cycling and Team Sky medic Freeman is contesting four of 22 charges to determine his fitness to practise.

They include ordering banned testosterone to British Cycling headquarters in 2011 knowing or believing it was for an athlete.

But Mary O’Rourke QC believes that a signed affidavit or witness statement held by the newspaper and signed by former British Cycling performance director Shane Sutton might help Freeman’s cause.

She has requested that the tribunal see those documents under Section 35a of the Medical Act.

And, after a 14-day deadline passed, she has now asked the GMC to “pursue an obtaining order”.

Freeman, who left British Cycling in 2017, has denied ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to the National Cycling Centre for performance-enhancing purposes, but has admitted to making the order and trying to cover it up.

He says he was bullied into ordering the Testogel for Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. The Australian, who stormed out of the tribunal on Tuesday last week, denies Freeman’s claim.

In a day when the tribunal in Manchester was hit by technical problems, denying an endocrinologist an opportunity to give evidence, O’Rourke also provided an update on her application to access the documents held by the Daily Mail.

She claims the legal document signed by Sutton relates to a story by the newspaper and “contains a number of lies”. She also says it is “inconsistent” with evidence Sutton gave to a Department of Culture, Media and Sport inquiry into doping in sport in 2016.

On Friday, O’Rourke said she had received an acknowledgement from the Daily Mail but described that as “inadequate”, adding: “We have asked the GMC to pursue an obtaining order and they are still considering their position.”

She also said that her client, Dr Freeman, was keen that the tribunal did not “drag out” should the alleged document itself become the subject of litigation.

The tribunal, which has already been hampered by legal argument, is set to conclude on 20 December.

Friday’s sitting was postponed until Monday after technical issues prevented endocrinologist Dr Richard Quinton from giving evidence

He was set to say that Sutton did not have a medical need for testosterone. The Australian said last Tuesday he no need for the drug, which can improve sex drive.

The tribunal is set to continue on Monday where both sides will argue whether Sutton’s evidence is admissible after his premature exit at the tribunal last week.

O’Rourke has also said she will apply to have the four charges which Freeman contests thrown out.

She said: “The GMC has no evidence to support its case.”

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