Essendon doctor Bruce Reid is "gravely concerned" the AFL Commission would hear the charge against him in a biased manner, according to a writ lodged by his lawyers with the Supreme Court.
Reid wants his case to be heard before an independent arbiter rather than before the league’s commission, which last week punished three other key Essendon officials for their roles in implementing the club’s 2011-12 supplements program.
Reid is the only one of the four Essendon officials charged – coach James Hird, assistant coach Mark Thompson and football manager Danny
Corcoran are the others – who is fighting the charges.
He wants his charge of conduct unbecoming heard by an independent arbiter, preferably a retired judge from the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court Justice David Beach will on Thursday determine whether Reid’s charge is heard before the AFL Commission or goes before an independent arbiter.
In an affidavit lodged with the Supreme Court on Monday, Reid said he feared his reputation as a medical practitioner and club doctor for more than 30 years would be damaged irreparably if he was found guilty. He also claimed the AFL Commission ‘‘‘unreasonably’’ refused to have the charge heard by an independent arbiter.
Reid and lawyer David Maddocks said in the affidavit they were concerned the commission had already accepted as fact some matters alleged against the doctor, when they were still in dispute, while it was dealing with the charges against Hird, Thompson and Corcoran.
Maddocks said Reid would push to have the charge against him struck out because the AFL alleged that during the second half of 2011 he was part of the decision-making process that implemented a ‘‘scientifically pioneering program’’ related to giving players supplements. The allegation, according to the affidavit, was made ‘‘without proper basis’’ and was prejudicial.
Maddocks called for the allegation that Reid should have contacted the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority in 2012 to inquire about the status of AOD-9604 to also be struck out.
He said the AFL Commission could not deal with the matter in an unbiased manner, given league chairman Mike Fitzpatrick stated the proceedings constituted ‘‘a most unfortunate matter’’, and ‘‘it might be a lonely day’’ for Reid.
The affidavit also raised concern over Fitzpatrick’s statement that ‘‘frankly, what happened [at Essendon] is probably the worst thing that has happened in a footy club’’.
The AFL Commission has already ruled that the hearing into Reid’s case will be open and heard by the public.