Bombers tackle ASADA in court

It will kick off on August 11, when the Bombers and their banned coach James Hird will argue that last year’s joint ASADA and AFL investigation into the club’s 2012 supplements program was unlawful.


The parties agreed to the date during pre-trial discussions in the Federal Court in Melbourne today.

Essendon’s barrister Neil Young QC argued ASADA should suspend show-cause notices against 34 past and present players until the conclusion of the trial.

He confirmed the club had received notice the July 11 cut-off date for players to respond to the show-cause notices has been extended.

A rolling notice period is now in place, he said.

“ASADA has offered an undertaking that it will extend the response period until 14 days after they give a notice, such notice not to be given before June 30,” Mr Young told the court.

“It is effectively a rolling notice period that could be triggered after Tuesday.”

He said this had left the players and club again on tenterhooks.

“What we’re asking for ASADA is they simply further extend the response period,” he said.

“The reasonable thing to do is to offer protection for the whole trial.”

ASADA’s barrister Tom Howe QC said ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt should have the right to trigger the show-cause notices at his own discretion.

“He should be left alone to execute the discretion available to him,” Mr Howe told the court.

Mr Young asked Justice John Middleton to review the act which gives ASADA its powers, as it stood in August 2013 when the investigation was underway.

He said the act required ASADA to conduct its own investigation, not jointly with the AFL, and to not share confidential information with the AFL.

“There are strict obligations on ASADA with respect to information obtained in its investigation,” Mr Young said.

“In our submission there is a very strong case that those confidentiality obligations have been transgressed.”

Justice Middleton said he does not intend to allow Essendon’s application to postpone the show-cause notices.

“Unfortunately there will always be uncertainty with litigation, that’s why we’re trying to expedite this litigation,” Justice Middleton said.