Stephen Dank has 11 days to hand over papers about supplement program to former Sharks players who are considering legal action
The Sunday Telegraph
January 25, 2014 10:00PM
SPORTS scientist Stephen Dank has 11 days to hand over any documents detailing the secrets of his supplement program to two former Cronulla Sharks players who are considering launching legal action against him.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal ex-Sharks Isaac Gordon and Josh Cordoba are in the preliminary stages of deciding whether to add Dank as a defendant in a lawsuit potentially worth millions of dollars concerning the alleged ill-effects of his supplement program implemented at the club during the 2011 season.
The two players are already taking the Sharks to court for negligence and may now take aim at Dank.
TIMELINE OF THE SAGA
Gordon and Cordoba filed a summons against Dank in the Downing Centre District Court two days before Christmas. In court on Thursday, judicial registrar James Howard made orders requiring Dank to hand over within 14 days documents he may possess relating to the program.
The two players have demanded to see any documents, including: correspondence Dank had with the Sharks, details of the supplements program, medical records, his involvement with the club, photographs or other material. "But it depends whether he (Dank) is forthcoming," a source said.
The development is significant because Dank has resisted all interview requests by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and has threatened court action to ensure he never has to.
The information could be revealed if Dank is called as a witness and legally compelled to answer questions. But it remains to be seen if he will appeal against the court order.
Anyone who refuses to comply with a court order risks being charged with contempt. The penalty is then decided by the court and can range from a fine to jail.
A statement of claim outlining Cordoba and Gordon's case against Dank is expected to be filed later this year if the preliminary action progresses and Dank produces documents that assist their case.
Gordon allegedly suffered horrific bruising down the length of his leg towards the end of the 11-week supplement program that allegedly included peptide injections, creams and tablets.
Cordoba claims he was administered with substances that were allegedly different to those to which he consented to - none of which was banned.
Their lawyer, James Chrara from Shine Lawyers, declined to comment.
An independent investigation found Sharks players were given peptides CJC-1295 and GHRP-6 in the form of injections, then tablets and creams, while Gordon was also advised to take BB Formula, which is traditionally used on racehorses, according to a statement issued by Shine Lawyers in October.
Dank has denied any wrongdoing and his lawyer Greg Stanton hung up on The Sunday Telegraph on Thursday when asked to confirm if the scientist would challenge the order or make a comment.
A source said the nature of the case against Dank could change if ASADA enforced playing bans against the pair.
"If ASADA bans them (from playing) the claim (against Dank) could be changed," the source said.
The matter is listed for a directions hearing on February 25. While the district civil court deals with claims worth up to $750,000, if the claim moved to a higher court, it could be worth millions.
In December, the NRL found that the 23 Sharks players who participated in the supplement program were exposed to health and anti- doping risks.
The NRL suspended Sharks coach Shane Flanagan for 12 months, cancelled the registration of former trainer Trent Elkin for at least two years and fined the club $1 million.
In August, ASADA was granted powers to compel witnesses to assist with its investigations through interviews and handing over information.
An ASADA spokeswoman said she was legally prevented from confirming whether the organisation was using the new powers on Dank: "ASADA is unable to discuss an ongoing investigation or operational matters associated with an investigation until such a time as its legislation permits."
Gordon played his last game with the Sharks in 2012 after joining the club in 2010.
Cordoba also last played for Cronulla in 2012, after two years with the club. He also spent three years with Parramatta before a stint in the UK Super League.
Both are now working in mining jobs in the Queensland town of Gladstone.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
February 7, 2013 - The Austrailan Crime Commission releases their report on crime links and performance-enhancing drugs. Ex-ASADA chairman Richard Ings calls it the 'blackest day in Australian sport'.
February 10 - Stephen Dank instructs his lawyers to launch a $10 million defamation claim against a number of media outlets, saying he was falsely accused of selling illegal drugs to sports people.
February 12 - Six NRL clubs, including Cronulla, Manly, Newcastle, North Queensland, Penrith and Canberra, announce they were implicated in the ACC's report.
February 13 - Manly and Newcastle Knights declare ASADA has cleared them of doping.
February 13 - Cronulla announces that part of its 2011 season is under scrutiny
February 14 - North Queensland announces it has been cleared by ASADA and Canberra does the same the next day
March 8 - The findings of internal Sharks review headed by former deputy chair of ASADA, Tricia Kavanagh, is released. Coach Shane Flanagan is stood down pending a review. Football general manager Darren Mooney and head trainer Mark Noakes are sacked. Club doctor David Givney and club physio Konrad Schultz are let go. The Sharks announce former Broncos boss Bruno Cullen as Cronulla's new interim chief executive.
March 13 - Damian Irvine quits as Cronulla chairman after a report in The Sunday Telegraph where he claimed players were injected with horse drugs.
April 29 - ASADA scraps player interviews after Wade Graham turns up to an interview wearing thongs and a baseball cap and refuses to answer any questions.
August 30 - Canberra Raiders winger Sandor Earl stood down after admitting to using and trafficking banned peptide CJC-1295.
September 8 - Isaac Gordon's father speaks publicly claiming his family was advised by club representatives to stonewall ASADA when investigators asked questions about bruising the former Sharks player suffered two years ago.
December 17 - The NRL issues the Cronulla Sharks a $1 million fine and coach Shane Flanagan is suspended for 12 months.
December 23 - Isaac Gordon and Josh Cordoba file a summons in the District Court as the first stage of a possible legal action against Stephen Dank, who denies any wrong doing.