Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal delayed again – this time until spring 2020

The hearing has been plagued by delays and setbacks

(Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images)

Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal has been delayed until spring 2020, adding to a catalogue of delays and setbacks.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing is investigation misconduct claims against the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor over a mystery testosterone delivery.

In 2011, Dr Freeman ordered testosterone gel to British Cycling headquarters in Manchester and then attempted to cover up the order, with the General Medical Council accusing him of making the order knowing or believing it would be given to an athlete to dope.

A statement from the MPTS said: “The tribunal has announced its decision to adjourn the hearing following an application on behalf of Dr Freeman.

“The full decision was handed down in private.”

The hearing got underway in October, but the process has been marred by delays and legal arguments, with the tribunal announcing on Tuesday morning (December 17) that proceedings would be put on hold until April 28, 2020 because Dr Freeman is unwell.

According to the tribunal, the hearing will reconvene on Tuesday April 28 next year and run until Friday, May 29, before restarting once again on Monday, October 5 until Friday, October 16 2020.

The process had already been delayed from February, with Dr Freeman admitting to 18 of the 22 charges against him as soon as the hearing got under way in October.

He denies ordering the testosterone to enhance an athlete’s performance.

The tribunal has been unable to get to the bottom of the testosterone delivery, as Freeman claimed he was bullied into making the order for Shane Sutton to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton denies any knowledge of the order.

Earlier this month, Freeman’s lawyer failed in a bid to have the charges against him thrown out.

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Mary O’Rourke, Freeman’s lawyer, had argued there was insufficient evidence in the case against her client.

The panel at Freeman’s tribunal made the decision not to throw out the charges because “there is a case to answer”, adding that Freeman’s initial denial of ordering the drug before admitting he had lied, claiming the testogel was ordered for a member of British Cycling staff, showed a “pattern of admitted dishonesty”.

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Alex Ballinger

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.