Dr Richard Freeman's lawyer makes Shane Sutton doping and bullying allegations

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport at the tribunal in Manchester
Mary O'Rourke and Richard Freeman
Mary O'Rourke QC (left) has been representing Dr Richard Freeman

Dr Richard Freeman's lawyer has told his medical tribunal that former British Cycling performance director Shane Sutton was handed a coke can of urine by a current coach to try to avoid a positive drugs test while he was a rider.

The claim was one several allegations made by defence lawyer Mary O'Rourke as she outlined the questions she would have put to Sutton had he not walked out of the hearing on 12 November.

The independent tribunal has been called by the General Medical Council to assess former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Freeman's fitness to practise.

Sutton - who has not returned to the tribunal - previously denied O'Rourke's claims that he is "a liar, a doper and a bully".

O'Rourke alleged that Sutton was taking part in the Tour of Ireland when he was handed a can of urine by a current British Cycling coach.

She also listed a number of allegations concerning Sutton, including:

  • That he received drugs in a McDonald's toilet in Edinburgh.
  • That he had confessed to Dr Freeman that he had used amphetamines while he was a rider.
  • That 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke and her dad provided a five-page statement on Sutton's "bullying, dishonesty and other shady behaviour…."
  • That Dr Freeman blocked Sutton's phone number but Sutton used his partner's phone to call and verbally abuse the medic.

In response, GMC lawyer Simon Jackson said that there was no evidence to support some of her claims, adding: "They are just allegations."

British Cycling said it is "committed to clean sport and we take any allegations relating to doping very seriously".

A statement added: "We urge anyone with any information regarding doping to contact UK Anti-Doping, as the UK's national anti-doping organisation."

Before walking out of the hearing, Sutton called O'Rourke a "bully", accused her of telling "a million lies", and said he had never tested positive in 100 tests during his cycling career.

Dr Freeman has not attended the hearing since Sutton described him as "spineless" during his appearance.

The medic, who left British Cycling in 2017, admits 18 of 22 charges against him including ordering testosterone to the National Cycling Centre in 2011, trying to cover up the order and lying to a UK Anti-Doping investigation.

But he is contesting four charges, which include ordering the 30 sachets of Testogel knowing or believing it was intended to enhance an athlete's performance.

Dr Freeman claims he was bullied by Sutton to order the testosterone for the Australian's alleged erectile dysfunction, a claim Sutton denies.

On Monday, O'Rourke began to explain why she believes those four charges should be thrown out.

She said Sutton's evidence was not credible and claimed that he left the tribunal because he was "hiding the truth" about why testosterone was ordered to the Manchester Velodrome.

Continuing her half-time submission on Tuesday, she said he could not "deal with" the further allegations "he knew were coming".

She said: "He would have been exposed in public. If he had nothing to fear he would have stayed. He knew he was going to have material put to him that he couldn't deal with.

"His evidence is tenuous, not credible and he would have been exposed as a liar and doper."

Claims are without evidence - GMC

Jackson asked the tribunal to "focus on all of the evidence" and said there was no evidence to back up some of O'Rourke's allegations about Sutton.

"Ms O'Rourke's focus is to attack Mr Sutton," he said.

"Sutton's evidence in terms of his denial is supported by both [endocrinologist] Doctor Quinton and also by the available medical records, so we submit that there has been no evidence put to Sutton or Dr Quinton that contradicts the allegations."

But O'Rourke said she had evidence from three witnesses detailing drug use by Sutton.

When Team Sky asked its staff to sign a document stating they had no history of doping, she claimed that "Sutton lied to keep his job" while others lost theirs.

She also said Sutton had intimidated Dr Freeman on several occasions, claiming the Australian had texted him during the course of the tribunal.

"Was that to put the frighteners on him?" she said.

O'Rourke added: "I would have put it to Sutton that he couldn't leave Richard Freeman alone."

BBC Sport has asked for responses from Sutton and British Cycling.

The tribunal, which is set to continue until 20 December, has been adjourned until Friday for the panel to consider the defence's half-time submission.

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