Essendon has stepped up its legal fight against the nation’s anti-doping authority, with the club seeking an injunction in the Federal Court on Monday to halt the probe into its use of supplements.
According to a report in Fairfax, the Bombers will also try to ensure that their players do not have to respond to their ‘show-cause’ letters from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority until after a court hearing in the legality of the joint ASADA-AFL investigation. That hearing is due to start on Friday.
The report said that the injunction would seek the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel be prevented from determining whether any players should be placed on ASADA’s Register of Findings, which is the next step once the show-cause response period has expired.
Lawyer Josh Bornstein, from Maurice Blackburn, told Fairfax the club had acted because ASADA had refused to suspend the investigation, despite repeated requests.
“We have written three times to ASADA’s lawyers seeking their cooperation to ensure this matter is dealt with quickly by the court and that pending a quick hearing, the investigation and show cause process be halted. On each occasion ASADA has failed to agree to our request for an appropriate undertaking,” Bornstein said.
“It’s in the interests of all concerned – the club, the players, the AFL and the football community more broadly – for this legal challenge to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
“It is only fair that ASADA commit to take no further steps in its investigation until after the Federal Court has ruled on the legality of the investigation. If ASADA proceeds, the court will be prevented from effectively ruling on the legality of the investigation because events will have overtaken the legal process.
“Extending the date for responses to the show-cause notices until 11 July, and committing to not provide information to the ADRVP until 12 July, does not go far enough.”