Sport AFL James Hird’s appeal thrown out
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James Hird’s appeal thrown out

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James Hird’s appeal against a ruling that the AFL/ASADA investigation into Essendon’s supplements program was legal has been dismissed.

He now has 28 days to decide whether to launch a High Court challenge to that verdict.

Why James Hird is the new Lindy Chamberlain

Justice Susan Kenny said the joint investigation was done correctly under the ASADA Scheme and Act.

“The legislative scheme envisaged that there would be close co-operation between ASADA and sporting administration bodies such as the AFL,” she said on Friday.

She said the players involved suffered no unfairness in the way ASADA conducted its interviews.

“Mr Hird and the 34 players voluntarily accepted the obligations under the AFL’s player rules and Anti-Doping Code to attend interviews and answer questions fully and truthfully, or face possible sanction by the AFL,” she said.

“Mr Hird and the 34 players were all legally represented at their interviews.

“They could have been in no doubt about the purposes of the interview.”

She dismissed the appeal on behalf of the full bench of the court and ordered Hird pay ASADA’s costs.

ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt said the judgment reaffirms the body’s view that it has a joint responsibility with sporting bodies to uphold clean competition.

“ASADA and sports must partner if we are to have any chance in protecting the integrity of fair competition,” he said in a statement.

Hird was not at the court for the judgment.

The appeal was in response to Justice John Middleton’s decision in September that the investigation conducted by ASADA and the AFL had been lawful.

Essendon decided to accept Justice Middelton’s decision while Hird decided to press on with an appeal on his own.

The decision clears the way for the anti-doping tribunal hearing into the 34 past and present Essendon players to proceed as planned.

On Thursday it was announced the hearing would be adjourned until February 18 to consider whether the ant-doping code was breached.

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