The Australian Court of Arbitration for Sport has imposed the minimum one-year ban on Tall Blacks and NZ Breakers shooting guard Corey Webster as new details of the star basketballer’s plight came to light today. Webster, who tested positive for Kronic after a Breakers’ game in Perth April 10 appears to have persuaded CAS he unwittingly smoked the then legal over-the-counter synthetic cannabis. Webster, 22, testified he shared what he thought was a tobacco cigarette with a friend at a party and that before he inhaled he asked if the smoke contained cannabis and was told it didn’t.
In a statement release to Fairfax Media today, Webster’s lawyer, Andrew McCormick, said: “Unfortunately, Corey’s friend did not tell him that the cigarette contained Kronic until after Corey had smoked the remainder of the cigarette.” While the moment of madness has now cost Webster dearly, the penalty he has been slapped with could have been much more severe. McCormick, a partner in Rangiora practice Brandts-Giesen McCormick and one of New Zealand’s up-and-coming sports lawyers, argued a “no fault or negligence” defence at the CAS hearing in Sydney earlier this month.
To succeed with this defence, Webster needed to prove that he “did not know, could not have known and could not have been reasonably expected to know, even while exercising the utmost caution”, that he had consumed a prohibited substance. CAS accepted Webster exercised appropriate caution to establish whether the cigarette contained cannabis and that while he could not have reasonably been expected to know the cigarette contained Kronic, his enquiries still did not go far enough. Despite ruling out Webster’s defence, CAS found his case had unique facts which allowed it to impose the shortest suspension possible as his degree of fault was at the absolute minimum. The maximum ban was four years while the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority requested a two-year suspension.
Webster tested positive for cannabis while playing in the New Zealand NBL for the Harbour Heat last year, and the Breakers said at the time he was on his final chance. McCormick said Webster accepted the decision but was nevertheless disappointed and that his client’s career was now in limbo as are his ties with the Breakers. The franchise’s board plan to meet this week to decide Webster’s fate. He has one more year to serve on his contract with the franchise. Webster declined to make any public comment until his employment situation was decided.
via : Stuff
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