Andre Russell’s anti-doping hearing, which was kick-started upon the insistence of Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), has been pushed back to September 28th by the independent anti-doping disciplinary commission.
The West Indies all-rounder had come in violation of World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) regulations after missing three dope tests. According to the governing body’s code, he could face a ban of up to 2 years if found to have breached the existing guidelines.
Russell’s attorney, Patrick Forster, demanded proof from JADCO that his client had violated the whereabouts clause during January 1, July 1 and July 25 of last year which were the dates when he was supposed to take the random dope tests.
“The thrust of our case is that the doping authority, JADCO, must prove negligence that has to emerge in the context of the evidence as it is given, so that is, essentially, our position. The burden of proof is on JADCO,” Forster claimed to Jamaica Gleaner.
He added, “I don't want to comment too much on the details of the evidence in the midst of cross-examining the witness. But a good portion of the cross-examination relates to the July to September quarter where JADCO recorded two filing failures, so in cross-examination, I am just questioning the basis which they arrived at two filing failures for the same quarter.”
Primarily seen as a limited-overs specialist, Russell was named in the West Indies squad for the upcoming 3-match T20I series against Pakistan. After pulling out of the tour ‘to attend to a personal matter‘, he was present at the hearing alongside wife Jassym Lora.
Following preliminary hearings in the case during July, the independent commission constituting Hugh Faulkner (convenor), Dr. Marjorie Vassell and former Jamaica first-class cricketer Dixeth Palmer was scheduled to conduct a two-day hearing starting from Monday.
But, JADCO’s Director Carey Brown could not attend the proceedings due to recuperating from a motor vehicle accident which had occurred last week.
Forster asserted, “Mr. Russell prefers to be playing cricket right now, but he has an obligation to be here. I am just going to advance the case on behalf of my client and explore the evidence given by JADCO. We thought it best to continue at another time since we had some other dates and the cross-examination may take some more time than we had for today (yesterday).”
He argued that the whereabouts clause had not allowed a specific deadline to be set and that Russell would issue a statement or take the stand ‘if it reaches that point‘. The hearing will continue on the 28th with the panel likely to give their verdict by October 7th.