The AFL today continued its trial by media of me with the release of the charges against the Essendon Football Club.
My lawyers only received notification by the AFL’s lawyers of the release of the Essendon Football Club charges minutes before they were made public. Courtesy would dictate that the AFL would have given adequate notification of the release of the charges so I could prepare.
Further, the release by the AFL of a letter by Dr Bruce Reid to me that formed part of the confidential ASADA investigation is in breach of due process.
The letter, released in isolation, is designed to damage my reputation.
This continues the abuse of process by the AFL by using the media to prosecute a case it seems unwilling to actually prosecute in a tribunal.
My lawyers wrote to the AFL last week seeking certain undertakings, particulars of the charges, and asked the AFL what the basis of their case was, ie who its witnesses were and what they were going to say in respect of the charges so that I could properly prepare my case.
The AFL is yet to respond to these requests which has made delay of the hearing inevitable.
These charges are denied and will be vigorously contested once the AFL actually provides due process.
The announcement by ambush confirms that the AFL is running an agenda which continues to call into question its impartiality.
My position is the same today as what it was yesterday and in previous weeks. That is:
1. I will contest the charges;
2. Mr Demetriou and the AFL should recuse themselves from any hearing of this case because of the conflict of interest that has been created by the AFL’s involvement in the process; and
3. There should be a public hearing conducted transparently by an independent arbiter.
It is critical to note that the ASADA report is interim; that no player infractions have been issued and the AFL and ASADA may be in breach of the law with the use of the interim report as a basis for the charges that have been laid.
In this frenzy of releases and press conferences today, the AFL remains silent about its knowledge since February 2013 of AOD9604 not being a banned substance, the major issue in this saga.
Throughout the course of this exercise I have been denied natural justice and today’s ambush is just another example of that.