UK Anti-Doping has confirmed that Bernice Wilson has been given a four-year suspension following an anti-doping rule violation.
Ms Wilson tested positive for the anabolic steroids testosterone and clenbuterol on 12 June 2011 and was provisionally suspended from all competition on 9 July 2011. Ms Wilson is banned from participation in sport up to and including 8 July 2015. An independent National Anti-Doping Panel found that this case warranted the maximum sanction of a four-year ban. Ms Wilson appealed, and the Appeal panel confirmed the four-year ban.
In its decision, the first National Anti-Doping Panel found that Ms Wilson, an ‘experienced and senior athlete’ who saw herself as a role model to younger athletes, tested positive for more than one prohibited substance, describing this as a ‘very bad case of doping’, and that ‘far from admitting her guilt... she sought to blame other people’, which led to her receiving the maximum four-year ban. The Appeal Panel confirmed that the sanction applied by the first panel was the correct sanction in the circumstances and that Ms Wilson’s arguments were ‘entirely without merit’, directing her to pay UK Anti-Doping’s costs of the appeal.
The World Anti-Doping Code provides the basis for a ban to be increased beyond the standard two years, if there are ‘aggravating circumstances’. These include an athlete possessing or using more than one Prohibited Substance, using more than one Prohibited Substance over a period of time, and engaging in ‘deceptive conduct’ to avoid adjudication.
UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson said: “We have successfully argued for a four-year ban which demonstrates that UK Anti-Doping always seeks robust sanctions against athletes who look to cheat the system and betray those around them.
“This sends a strong message to anyone looking to dope in the UK and gives clean athletes the confidence that we are working hard on their behalf, within the framework of the World Anti-Doping Code, to protect their right to compete in doping-free sport.”
The first instance decision is available here:
World Anti-Doping Code
10.6 Aggravating Circumstances Which May Increase the Period of Ineligibility
If the Anti-Doping Organization establishes in an individual case involving an anti-doping rule violation other than violations under Articles 2.7 (Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking) and 2.8 (Administration or Attempted Administration) that aggravating circumstances are present which justify the imposition of a period of Ineligibility greater than the standard sanction, then the period of Ineligibility otherwise applicable shall be increased up to a maximum of four (4) years unless the Athlete or other Person can prove to the comfortable satisfaction of the hearing panel that he or she did not knowingly commit the anti-doping rule violation.
An Athlete or other Person can avoid the application of this Article by admitting the anti-doping rule violation as asserted promptly after being confronted with the anti-doping rule violation by an Anti-Doping Organization.
Comment to Article 10.6: Examples of aggravating circumstances which may justify the imposition of a period of Ineligibility greater than the standard sanction are: the Athlete or other Person committed the anti-doping rule violation as part of a doping plan or scheme, either individually or involving a conspiracy or common enterprise to commit anti-doping rule violations; the Athlete or other Person Used or Possessed multiple Prohibited Substances or Prohibited Methods or Used or Possessed a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method on multiple occasions; a normal individual would be likely to enjoy the performance-enhancing effects of the anti-doping rule violation(s) beyond the otherwise applicable period of Ineligibility; the Athlete or Person engaged in deceptive or obstructing conduct to avoid the detection or adjudication of an anti-doping rule violation.
For the avoidance of doubt, the examples of aggravating circumstances described in this Comment to Article 10.6 are not exclusive and other aggravating factors may also justify the imposition of a longer period of Ineligibility.