skip to Main Content

Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Aaron Neemia


Anti-doping – cannabis – second violation (see Softball NZ v Aaron Neemia, SDT 08/06, decision 7 April 2006 for decision relating to first violation) – law changed this year due to changes in WADA Code and Sports Anti-Doping Rules – Tribunal now has discretion of imposing suspension of between 1 to 4 years (instead of mandatory 2 year suspension under old law) for second cannabis violation (where not taken to enhance sports performance in both violations) – first Tribunal case dealing with second cannabis violation under new law. Athlete admitted violation – Tribunal accepted corroborated evidence that cannabis use not intended to enhance sports performance – used at suggestion of friend to help sleep and help with pain relief for knee injury – used 2 or 3 days before national softball final – no mitigating factors – taking cannabis for pain or sleep relief not mitigating factor – aggravating factors were that that he was an international athlete who was expected to set example for other players and despite strong warning from Tribunal less than 3 years ago of consequences of further cannabis offending, he was prepared to smoke cannabis again just 2 or 3 days before national final – minimum suspension of one year not inconsequential (player withdrawn from national side, will miss world cup and cannot take up overseas playing contract) – however, issue for Tribunal is not consequences to player but degree of fault of player – in circumstances, minimum sanction of one year’s suspension was not appropriate – 18 months’ ineligibility imposed (commencing from 30 March 2009 to take account of provisional suspension).

Back To Top