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Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Vince Whare


Anti-doping – third cannabis violation (reprimanded and fined in 2005 and suspended for 2 years in 2006) – first case before Tribunal of any third time doping violation – rugby league player tested positive for cannabis after representing province – Sports Anti-Doping Rules provide for a life time ban for third violation unless (in the case of “specified substance” such as cannabis) athlete can establish how substance got in system and provide corroborated evidence that use not intended to enhance sports performance – if athlete establishes this, Tribunal has discretion to impose lesser penalty ranging from a minimum of 8 years’ suspension to lifetime ban. Athlete admitted violation – athlete and witness provided evidence which satisfied Tribunal that he smoked cannabis socially and not with the intention of enhancing sports performance – assessment of degree of fault – at one stage alleged addicted to cannabis but subsequently gave evidence contrary to this and therefore issue of whether addiction would be relevant factor in assessing fault did not need to be considered – whether nature of cannabis and its social use (including that not used for performance enhancing performances here) relevant to assessing degree of fault – breach was inexcusable but Tribunal took into account all the circumstances of case (including his deliberate breaching of the rules despite previous warnings from Tribunal, his personal circumstances including the effect of suspension, and the nature of cannabis and its social use) – a penalty greater than the minimum of 8 years’ suspension but less than the maximum lifetime ban met the intent of the Rules – 10 years’ ineligibility imposed (commencing from date of provisional suspension).

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