Tribunal refuses to drop charges against Richard Freeman as delay into 2020 expected

The General Medical Council said Freeman has 'a case to answer'

Richard Freeman’s lawyer has failed in a bid to have the charges being brought against the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor thrown out.

Mary O’Rourke, Freeman’s lawyer, had argued there was insufficient evidence in the case against her client, who is accused of ordering testosterone gel to British Cycling HQ in 2011 to be used by an athlete to dope. Freeman denies these claims, which form the centre of the four remaining charges against the doctor from a slate of 22 – he has admitted to the other 18.

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”.

Multiple delays in proceedings, including the deliberations on whether to throw out the four charges taking two days, means Freeman’s tribunal is set to rumble on into 2020, having previously been scheduled to end on December 20.

>>> Everything you need to know about Dr Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal

The tribunal’s decision to pursue the four charges means Freeman will now be required to give evidence. Freeman was present in Manchester on Friday, where the hearing is being held by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, but O’Rourke said her client was “too emotional” to be present in the room.

O’Rourke said: “There has been a crisis [in his mental health] in the last three or four days – as a lay person, a serious crisis.” Freeman has a long-standing diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Earlier in the week, O’Rourke claimed a current British Cycling coach gave Shane Sutton a Coke can filled with urine during the Tour of Ireland when faced with doping control. The allegation was made when O’Rourke was asked to outline the questions she would put to Sutton if and when he returns to the tribunal.

Freeman and Sutton were part of the successful British Cycling era on the track and helped Team Sky start in 2010. Sutton resigned from British Cycling in 2016, Freeman in 2017.

Freeman in his testimony admitted to ordering testosterone, but said that Sutton bullied him into placing a May 2011 order. Sutton denied this claim.