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Touch New Zealand v Nui Bartlett


Anti-doping – cannabis – recreational use – intoxication – cross code effect of suspension – defendant was a NZ touch representative, NPC rugby player and potential NZ Sevens rugby player – tested positive for cannabis after playing in touch tournament – the night before tournament he was celebrating being part of rugby team that won NPC second division – claimed so intoxicated that could not remember what happened but accepted he must have used cannabis – that cannabis use occurred while intoxicated not a mitigating factor – Tribunal found aggravating circumstances justifying suspension including defendant previously signed participation agreement not to use prohibited substances, cannabis use occurring night before touch tournament and defendant an experienced player aware of Touch NZ’s strong anti-doping stance – cross code effect of suspension harsh on defendant – after positive test defendant subjected to interim suspension by Touch NZ which also meant he could not play rugby during this time – missed several tournaments affecting chances for selection in NZ Rugby Sevens team, NZ Touch team and potentially impacting on future income from rugby – Tribunal took this into account in determining penalty – three weeks’ ineligibility imposed.

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