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Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Graham O’Grady


Anti-doping – triathlete tested positive to morphine – “no fault” defence under Rule 14.5.1 of Sports Anti Doping Rules – athlete did not challenge positive test but claimed he was not at fault as the morphine found in his system was due to poppy seeds contained in loaves of gluten free poppy seed bread he had been eating before, and on the day, of the competition – Tribunal heard and accepted expert scientific evidence that morphine may be produced from consumption of poppy seeds (which are not prohibited substances) – some evidence that the variables involved in the present case (including the source of poppy seeds and the bread production process) may in combination have inflated the morphine concentration – Tribunal accepted that on the scientific evidence the morphine concentration in athlete’s test samples was a “possible” or “likely” consequence of the consumption of poppy seed bread – having heard and seen athlete and the other witnesses the Tribunal was satisfied that the source of Mr O’Grady’s positive test was the consumption of the poppy seed bread – no other credible explanation on the evidence – Tribunal had to decide whether athlete could reasonably have known or suspected that consuming commercial bread product might introduce morphine into his system and ultimately result in the positive test – Tribunal decided that this result could not reasonably have been anticipated by athlete – Tribunal concluded athlete had established he had “no fault” for anti-doping violation and therefore no penalty of suspension was imposed and provisional suspension order lapsed – however, as an anti-doping violation established, the Sports Anti-Doping Rules required that his competition result had to be disqualified – disqualification is an automatic consequence of an anti-doping violation under the Rules, even when an athlete is found to have no fault for the violation.

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