12 August 2014

Sport sector experts from leading UK law firm Burges Salmon have helped clear the name of New Zealand eventer Jock Paget, who has been acquitted by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Tribunal of any malpractice in relation to his horse Clifton Promise in 2013 failing an equine anti-doping test.

The firm’s Sport sector group, led by partner Jeremy Dickerson, advised Jock Paget from the outset of the case, the key to which was that the person responsible (Paget) prove to the FEI Tribunal how the banned substance reserpine came to be in the horse, and demonstrate no fault or negligence for its presence.

The final ruling of the FEI Tribunal was released on Thursday 7 August and confirmed that the positive finding came as the result of contamination of an equine supplement (Lestresse) during its manufacture, and for which Paget bore no responsibility. This is only the second time that the FEI has exonerated an athlete after a horse tested positive for a banned substance.

In acknowledging that top level equestrian sport requires “the use of supplements to properly care for such elite horses”, the Tribunal highlighted that Clifton Promise had been tested clean on four previous occasions dating back to 2010 when using the same supplement including after Jock Paget won at Badminton in May 2013.

“The Tribunal therefore believes that the PR (Paget) had the right to rely on the product, and in particular to expect that the product did not contain any Prohibited Substances.'

The ruling concludes that “the Tribunal finds that the PR has succeeded in establishing that he bears No Fault or Negligence for the rule violation” and that “The Tribunal is not imposing any sanctions on the PR”.

Jock Paget said the support he had received from sponsors, owners, his team-mates, staff, family, friends, Equestrian Sports New Zealand and his legal team at Burges Salmon had been invaluable.

Jeremy Dickerson commented: “Our Sport sector group previously acted on the only other successful banned substance case, in 2010, so we are particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to provide legal advice in this instance and be able to secure this positive result for Jock, clearing his name.'

Key contact

Jeremy Dickerson

Jeremy Dickerson Partner

  • Head of International 
  • Head of Intellectual Property, Media and Sport
  • Defamation and Reputation Management

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