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Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Sylvester Seay


Anti-doping – cannabis – no fault – ate sweet did not know contained medical marijuana – athlete (S) is USA based professional basketballer who came to NZ to play for a national league team – S visited a friend (L) in California the night before left for NZ and ate a cellophane wrapped sweet from bowl of sweets offered to him by L – sweets had been left behind at L’s place by a friend of L – S and L assumed they were a common commercial candy – however, L subsequently discovered from the friend who left the sweets behind that the sweets had been obtained from a medical marijuana store and were laced with cannabis – S consumed sweet 12 days before drug test in NZ – S gave evidence, supported by his witnesses, that he does not use cannabis, had never failed a drug test before and that source of cannabis must have been from the laced sweet – whether consuming sweet could have resulted in the positive cannabis test – Tribunal considered that on the evidence presented in this case, including scientific evidence and material, it was unable to rule out the sweet as a source of cannabis causing the positive test result – Tribunal found S and his witnesses to be credible and accepted their evidence as truthful – Tribunal satisfied on the balance of probability that the cannabis, resulting in the positive test, entered S’s system through his consumption of the sweet – whether S at fault – Tribunal considered that consuming a sweet at a friend’s house will not constitute fault or negligence unless there is some objective basis for concern – nothing in this case could fairly be said to put S on notice regarding possible contamination of the sweet – Tribunal therefore concluded S not at fault for anti-doping violation – therefore no penalty imposed and provisional suspension order lapsed.

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