Hird launches Supreme Court action
James Hird issues a writ against the AFL in the Supreme Court claiming he has been denied natural justice, demanding chief executive Andrew Demetriou be banned from taking part in any hearing.PT3M20S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2se4k 620 349 August 22, 2013
One of Melbourne's top compensation law firms is believed to be in talks with an Essendon player over the supplements scandal.
An industry source told Fairfax Media that national law firm Holding Redlich was providing early advice to at least one individual from the embattled AFL club.
On Thursday night a spokeswoman for the company said: ''Unfortunately Holding Redlich cannot comment on the Essendon matter at the moment.''
In March, lawyers for Holding Redlich believed to be in talks with an Essendon player who wrote an opinion piece for Fairfax Media.
Workplace relations lawyers Andrea Reynolds and Emma Starkey said the drugs-in-sport controversy had created ''a legal minefield of conflicting interests''.
They said clubs that administered prohibited substances or failed to have adequate safeguards might breach their obligation to provide a safe work environment.
''This may also expose clubs to prosecution under relevant OHS legislation,'' they wrote.
Slater & Gordon's practice group leader, Ben Phi, said the immediate problem with launching legal action on behalf of players was that, as far as he was aware, no one had actually suffered any injuries as a result of the supplement program.
He said if there was potential for harm to develop in the long term they should consider quickly putting in place a program to monitor players' wellbeing.
But the supplements saga did get to court on Thursday when Essendon coach James Hird issued a writ against the AFL in the Supreme Court, claiming he had been denied natural justice and demanding AFL chief Andrew Demetriou be banned from taking part in any hearing against him.
Hird, who is charged with bringing the game into disrepute, is seeking an injunction stopping Demetriou and any AFL commissioner who has had access to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority interim report on its investigation of Essendon from taking part in any hearing of the charge.
Hird also wants any hearing into the case delayed until he has been given details of the charge against him; a list of witnesses the AFL plans to call at the hearing and the substance of their evidence; and to be given all copies of documents the AFL will provide at the hearing.
Hird has given the AFL a deadline of September 16 to provide the information about the charge he faces and a September 30 deadline for information about the witnesses and other documentation the AFL will rely on to prosecute the Bombers' coach.
Hird, who claims he has been ambushed by the AFL, is also seeking damages for interference with his contractual obligations as Essendon coach, and legal costs.
Under the heading, 'AFL Acting in bad faith', Hird claimed that between February and August 21 this year the AFL had provided information to the media (directly or indirectly) with information it had acquired ''in the course of the alleged joint investigation''.
He said the AFL's intention to have the charge heard by the commission denied him natural justice and would cause him to suffer irreparable loss and damage and ''seriously interferes with Hird's coaching contract with Essendon''.