America's Cup Jury finds that the Alinghi trimmer 'bears no fault or negligence' following positive anti doping tests. Matthew Sheahan reports
The America’s Cup Jury has found that Alinghi trimmer Simon Daubney ‘bears no fault or negligence’ following a positive anti doping test in which two metabolites of cocaine were in his test sample.
In its findings published on 29 September following a hearing at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, the jury accepted that a banned substance had been present in Daubney’s samples but that the sailor had told the truth to the hearing Body when he claimed that, ‘he had not knowingly taken cocaine or any other banned substance.’
The issue relates to a routine anit doping test carried out on several members of the Alinghi team on the 23 June 2007, the opening day of the America’s Cup match. On 9 July Daubney’s ‘A’ sample was found to test positive with the ‘B’ sample confirming the earlier findings.
Among the witnesses called by Daubney, Laurie Daubney, Russell Coutts, Daniel Meyers, Bradley Butterworth and Curtis Blewitt all gave evidence (Coutts and Blewitt by telephone) during the hearing as to Simon Daubney’s background and character. Evidence established that Simon Daubney was a highly successful and respected professional sailor. Each had a long term and close professional and social relationship with Simon Daubney. They all testified that in their experience, Simon Daubney had never taken any kind of drug that was in breach of the Anti-Doping Rules, in particular that he had never taken cocaine, and that in their view he was of excellent character and that it was incredible and unbelievable to them that hewould have knowingly taken cocaine that was the subject of the positive drug test.
The Jury notice also detailed the findings of a polygraph test (truth test) stating; ‘Bruce Burgess, a polygraph expert explained the entire polygraph system in great detail and gave evidence that he had conducted a polygraph examination on Simon Daubney on 11th September 2007. During the examination Bruce Burgess had asked 3
relevant questions, including “have you ever used cocaine?” to which Simon Daubney answered “no”. The test was repeated for reliability. Bruce Burgess had no doubt that all answers were truthful and that the probability of deception was less than 0.01% which is the lowest probability on the polygraph scale used.’
In presenting his ownm evidence Daubney stated, ‘that he had been tested for drugs many times during his long career as a competitive professional sailor (including several Olympic campaigns and six America’s Cup campaigns), all of which had been negative. Like the
other witnesses, he stated that as a result of him moving from Team New Zealand to Team Alinghi for the 31st America’s Cup there had developed a small unruly element who opposed his move and at times he had been subjected to considerable personal harassment. He stated that in the week prior to the drug test being conducted on 23rd June 2007, he had visited one public establishment in Palma and two in Valencia where he had consumed drinks that had not been purchased by himself which could have been tampered with without his knowledge. He gave further evidence of having received in his mailbox at the Alinghi base on the day after his test, a note which stated, “I heard you were tested, how do you think you will get on? Ha Ha.” He discarded the note thinking it was a practical joke being played on him. He stated that in his opinion the likely source of the positive drug test arose through the ‘spiking’ of a drink in these circumstances. He stated
unequivocally that he had never taken cocaine or any other prohibited drug.’
In absolviong Daubney of any fault or negligence, the Jury alos confirmed that there was no eveidence of, ‘organised doping at team level by Alinghi.’