- Sport: Rugby Union
- Issue: Arbitration
- Type: Anti-Doping
- Tribunal: Matthew Lohn, Dr Barry O'Driscoll, Dr Neil Townshend
- Decision date: 02 May 2018
- Outcome: A period of Ineligibility for two (2) years was imposed.
A decision in the case of the Rugby Football Union v Patrick Hillier has been published by the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP).
On 28 October 2017, Mr Hillier (the “Player”) was selected for Doping Control after a match between Cheltenham Tigers RFC vs Old Richians RFC. Upon arriving in the Doping Control Station, the Player requested that a supplementary report be completed to state that on 26 October 2017 he believed he had been “spiked with Cocaine ”on a night out. The Player’s A Sample from this collection was found to contain benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine. Cocaine is prohibited In-Competition only.
The Player accepted committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (“ADRV”) under World Rugby Regulation 21.2.1. However, he sought a reduction in sanction on the basis that his ADRV was not intentional, submitting that he did not knowingly take cocaine but that his drink was spiked. Aided by expert opinion the NADP Tribunal determined that the ADRV should be treated as not intentional. In reaching its decision regarding a reduction in the period of Ineligibility, the NADP Tribunal considered whether the provisions of No Significant Fault or Negligence and Prompt Admission applied.
The NADP Tribunal consisting of Matthew Lohn (Chair), Dr Barry O’Driscoll and Dr Neil Townshend, determined on the papers that the Player committed an ADRV under World Rugby Regulation 21.2.1. There was no evidence that the substance was taken prior to the match to enhance performance and the Tribunal was satisfied that the Prohibited Substance was used Out-Of-Competition in a context unrelated to sports performance. However, the Tribunal did not find that the No Significant Fault or Negligence and Prompt Admission provisions were applicable on the facts of the case. A period of Ineligibility for two (2) years was imposed.
Mr Hillier’s ban will run from 17 November 2017, being the date he was notified of his provisional suspension, until midnight on 16 November 2019.