Melbourne (Australia): Some of Shane Warne's evidence to the Australian Cricket Board's anti-doping hearing was considered to be "vague, unsatisfactory and inconsistent", it was revealed on Wednesday. The three-person panel, led by Queensland judge Glen Williams, published the full findings through the ACB's Website, in the wake of banning the Australian leg spinner last Saturday for 12 months for testing positive to diuretics.
The committee could have banned Warne for two years or more, but halved the minimum penalty after taking into account a report by ACB anti-doping medical adviser Peter Harcourt. The committee, in its finding, criticised Warne for the "extreme vagueness" of his evidence regarding the extent of his use of the diuretic, Moduretic, last year. It also questioned the evidence given by his mother, Brigitte, who Warne says supplied him with diuretic tablets on at least two occasions. Warne admitted taking a diuretic tablet in December as well as in January, but while the earlier use showed up in a later drugs test, it was not enough to trigger a positive finding, the report said.
However the committee said given the "extreme vagueness" of Warne's evidence it had "grave doubts that it has full information as to the extent that Warne used Moduretic prior to providing the sample on January 22, 2003". Warne told the committee he had never read the ACB's playing conditions, which included the anti-doping code, had not learnt the consequences of using diuretics or other drugs, and did not know medical experts were available to advise him on the use of any drugs. "Much of Warne's evidence on these issues was unsatisfactory and the committee does not accept he was entirely truthful in his responses to questions about his knowledge of the ACB anti-doping policy," the committee said.
"Coupled with that is his vague, unsatisfactory and inconsistent evidence about the extent of using a Moduretic. His mother's evidence was also vague and unsatisfactory." The committee described Warne's decision to take the tablets without knowing what they contained as "a reckless act, totally disregarding the consequences". Harcourt gave evidence that Warne could have gained no advantage by taking diuretics, that there was no direct evidence of steroid use by the leg spinner and that his recovery from a dislocated shoulder was in the normal time frame. Warne told the committee that he took a diuretic given to him by his mother to look good for a press conference on January 22 to announce his retirement from international one-day cricket.
"That sheet (of tablets) clearly named the drug Moduretic and specified the two constituent drugs," the committee said. "Warne said he could not read that because of the torn flaps from where the tablet had been used but clearly that would not be so. The names were clearly there if he chose to look. "He clearly knew it was a chemical compound available only on prescription. He clearly intended the chemicals in the tablet to alter his body integrity, at least cosmetically. "He made no enquiries about the content of the tablet. He made no attempt to contact the ACB drug medical officer, the Australian team doctor or (the Australian Sports Drug Agency) before taking it.
"It could have contained any banned substance." Warne was banned for 12 months after the committee found that Harcourt's report allowed for the penalty to be varied. "Having regard to Harcourt's report, particularly the fact there was no performance enhancement and no direct evidence of use of an anabolic steroid, the committee is of the view that the penalty should be varied as provided for by clause 8.3," it said. "Deliberation on the penalty has proven to be the most difficult aspect of the committee's considerations."
Warne said on Tuesday he was still considering whether to appeal against the ban from all cricket which he said could cost him around 3 million Australian Dollars ($ 1.8 million) in all forms of cricket-related earnings. Copyright AFP 2001