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Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Bruce Kake


Anti-doping – cannabis – athlete tested positive after final of national Touch competition – admitted violation – left tournament to be with family when found out grandmother passed away – smoked cannabis that night for comfort purposes – although not intending to return to tournament, returned next day – Tribunal accepted cannabis not taken for performance enhancing reasons and took into account bereavement and that player had not intended to return to tournament at time he smoked cannabis – however, were aggravating circumstances requiring a deterrent and meaningful suspension – very experienced international player who admitted well aware of doping rules yet made deliberate decision to play knowing night before smoked cannabis and hoped wouldn’t get caught – his team didn’t win but would have been disqualified if it had as result of his violation – Touch season over – Touch NZ had suspended him from competition in new season on another disciplinary matter from 1 November to 31 January 2010 and therefore asked Tribunal to commence any suspension it might impose form 1 January 2011 – Tribunal does not appear to have power to impose suspension commencing on future date – However, Tribunal considered it must have the power to impose a meaningful and effective sanction – appropriate sanction in every case depends on the particular circumstances of that case – a meaningful and effective sanction in circumstances of this particular case was a suspension that did not expire until after end of next Touch season – in imposing the penalty, Tribunal took into account his suspension in Novembers and December by Touch NZ on the different matter – Tribunal emphasised penalty not to be read as imposing any “tariff” but rather was penalty that was effective and meaningful taking into account all circumstances in case – Tribunal therefore imposed suspension until 16 March 2011 when next Touch season due to finish.

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