By NOEL MURPHY
COMPELLING Olympic athletes under contract to release doping evidence that might incriminate them goes against their common law rights, according to a Geelong legal expert.
Deakin University law lecturer Martin Hardie slammed Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) moves to force athletes to agree to conditions that he said even Federal Government would not pursue.
In a paper co-written with Canberra and New South Wales university colleages Dr Kathryn Henne and Jason Mazanov, Mr Hardie queried whether athletes fearing they might miss out on Olympic berths would sign contracts with their “free and full consent”.
New AOC anti-doping by-laws insist all athletes must fully cooperate with Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigations “even if to do so might tend to incriminate them or expose them to a penalty, sanction or other disciplinary measure”’.
The three academics argued the privilege against self-incrimination was a basic human right, upheld even by the High Court.
“One has to wonder if holding the gun of not competing in the Olympics against an athlete constitutes a contract that has been entered into with the necessary condition of free and full consent,” they said.
The paper questioned whether removing “a fundamental common law right and privilege – that Parliament has decided it should not remove” was contrary to “proper administration of justice”.
“The merits of the AOC by-law require some critical reflection … more than another rash of evangelical cheerleading about catching the cheats,” Mr Hardie and his colleagues said.