MANCHESTER—A former British Cycling doctor has told a tribunal he destroyed a laptop which could have contained important medical data, because he thought investigators would have already backed it up.
Dr Richard Freeman is accused of ordering Testogel, a prohibited substance, to the Velodrome in Manchester in May 2011 with the aim of improving an unnamed athlete’s performance.
He admits to obtaining the product but claims it was for cycling coach Shane Sutton in order to help him with erectile dysfunction.
Dr Freeman stood up at the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service (MPTS) 10 months after the case was last adjourned.
During his evidence he said he had been providing Mr Sutton with Viagra and Cialis in the year building up to the alleged incident but Mr Sutton then demanded Testogel.
The doctor was also forced to confront the previous lies he had told about the incident.
Representing the General Medical Council (GMC), Simon Jackson asked him about a laptop which had been inspected by the UK Anti Doping agency in February 2017 but had been “destroyed in an amateurish way” when it came to be inspected 2 years later.
Dr Freeman asked: “Are you asking me why I destroyed it?”
The GMC lawyer said: “We haven’t got to that stage, I am asking you why it was handed down in working order, why you returned it damaged and useless?”
Dr Freeman gave his account: “I had seen a programme about how people in India can get data from the laptops, I decided I am not going to let that happen so I decided to destroy it.”
He also conceded he had not felt well at the time.
He said his lawyers advised him not to do this and he had believed he had a hard drive.
Mr Jackson then pressed him on why he had decided to destroy it.
He asked: “Before you took a screwdriver or hammer to destroy the laptop you would have backed it up?”
Dr Freeman replied: “Yes.”
He was then asked why he did not do this.
Dr Freeman said he assumed British Cycling would have made a copy.
Mr Jackson asked: “Did you take any steps to check that?”
Dr Freeman replied: “I did not.”
He later claimed he handed over an external hard drive but his examiner said he had just handed over a “piece of plastic”.
He was then asked: “Surely Dr Freeman on an issue as important as this, before you applied brute force to this laptop you had a copy, that is common sense isn’t it?”
Dr Freeman replied: “Yes.”
Mr Jackson then said: “Unless you did not want someone to access the contents?”
Dr Freeman replied: “I had nothing to hide, it had already been damaged by British Cycling.”
He was then asked about his background treating erectile dysfunction and his relationship with Shane Sutton.
Mr Jackson took him through his CV and asked whether he had agreed the description by his own