Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal adjourned, but public will not be told why
The case will be considered at a new hearing on an unspecified date
The medical tribunal of former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman has been adjourned, but the public will not be told why.
Dr Freeman, who denies all allegations against him, is accused of ordering testosterone to British Cycling headquarters in Manchester with the intention of administering it to an athlete to dope.
He was due to face a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) misconduct hearing in February, but the case never got started as legal arguments were heard behind closed doors.
The MPTS announced on Tuesday (March 5) that the case would be adjourned to be considered by a new tribunal at a later date.
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A decision was made during a private session, but the details of that announcement will not be made public.
A spokesperson for the General Medical Council, which has been investigating Dr Freeman’s conduct, said: “It is frustrating that this case has not yet got underway.
“We remain ready to open our case in public and we hope we will be permitted to do so as soon as possible.”
According to the pre-hearing information, on May 16, 2011 Dr Freeman allegedly ordered 30 sachets of Testogel from Fit4Sport Limited to the Manchester Velodrome.
Dr Freeman is also accused of making untrue statements when he denied making the order and suggested the order had been made by mistake.
He is then alleged to have contacted Fit4Sport Limited in October 2011, requesting written confirmation that the order have been sent in error, returned and would be destroyed by the company, knowing this was not true.
Dr Freemen then showed the email to others, knowing the contents were untrue, according to the allegations.
The tribunal was also due hear evidence around allegations that Dr Freeman made untrue statements to the UK Anti-Doping organisation in an interview in February 2017, when he said that the Testogel had been ordered for a non-athlete member of staff and had been returned to Fit4Sport Limited.
It is further alleged that Dr Freeman’s motive for ordering the Testogel was to administer it to an athlete to improve their athletic performance.
The tribunal would also inquire into the allegation that, during his time as team doctor for athletes at British Cycling and Team Sky, Dr Freeman inappropriately provided medical treatment that did not constitute first aid to non-athlete members of staff.
He also allegedly failed to inform three patients’ GPs of medication prescribed and reasons for prescribing.
Dr Freeman is also accused of failing to keep an adequate record management system, that his management of prescription-only medication was inappropriate and that he failed to ensure records on a laptop, which was stolen from him in August 2014, could be retrieved.
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Announcing the delay on Tuesday, a MPTS spokesperson said: “The tribunal hearing case of Dr Freeman has adjourned the case to be considered by a new tribunal at a future date.
“It will be listed by the MPTS in due course.
“The tribunal announced it’s decision today in private session, and a public version will not be made available.
“We believe it is in the public interest, and the interest of everybody involved in the case, for hearings to be completed as quickly as possible.
“We will be working with the parties to relist this hearing at the earliest opportunity.”
Dr Freeman had been due to give evidence before the digital, culture, media and sport committee in Westminster in 2017, but failed to appear citing a “major depressive illness.”
He resigned at British Cycling’s head doctor that year due to ill health.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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