'Crowne-ing' moments for Caribbean sports lawyers


'Crowne-ing' moments for Caribbean sports lawyers

Observer writer

Thursday, October 29, 2020

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When World 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser had her anti-doping violation charges dismissed by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal, it was a personal victory for her, but more importantly, a significant boost for the Caribbean sports law jurisprudence.

The 22-year-old Naser of Bahrain, who won the 2019 World Championships 400m, was provisionally suspended in June 2020 after being charged with missing four anti-doping tests.

But unusually for a top-class athlete, the Nigerian-born star hired the assistance of top Caribbean lawyer Dr Emir Crowne of Trinidad and Tobago and his assistants Kristie Irving and Xavier Leveridge of Jamaica.

“Guess it shows that the Caribbean is now becoming a region known for its sports lawyers and sports law jurisprudence,” Crowne told the Jamaica Observer.

“There are a fair amount of sports law cases now coming out of Jamaica, Trinidad, and so on, and so the fact that we represented Miss Naser, it probably is a sign that other than the usual suspects, the larger countries like America, England or Switzerland, there is a growing sports law expertise in the Caribbean,” he pointed out.

Crowne continued: “And I am not just talking myself, but more broadly there are several sports lawyers in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados.

“It is a sign that there is growing expertise in the region, and perhaps when we do have sporting disputes, we no longer need to look beyond the region, we no need to look to our former colonial masters for the answers, that there is in fact, a pool of talent in the Caribbean that we can tap into.”

Crowne, one of Canada's and the Caribbean's most prolific and sought-after sports lawyers, has argued matters before sporting tribunals based in Canada, Malta, Switzerland, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the Olympics. He is appointed to Sport Resolutions (UK) International Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators, and is an editorial board member at LawInSport.

The 42-year-old Crowne was in 2010 awarded the “Young Practitioner Award” by the South Asian Bar Association [Toronto] and is the founder of the Harold G Fox Intellectual Property Moot and the Donald G Bowman National Tax Moot.

He recently represented rising star Briana Williams, along with fellow Jamaicans Riker Hylton, Jason Morgan, Dominque Blake, and Travis Smikle and a host of clients, especially in Canada, ranging from hockey, speed skating, bobsleigh and fencing.

Naser, who last year struck gold at the Doha World Championships with the third fastest time of all-time clocking 48.14, won her appeal against the provisional suspension after her attorneys proved, via video evidence, of the premises that the doping control officer went to the wrong address hence that could not be deemed a whereabouts failure.

An investigation found the missed test occurred due to a doping control officer being confused by numbered car parking spaces at the athlete's apartment block and accidently knocked on the door of a nearby storeroom instead of the property Naser was staying in.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) had charged Naser with four alleged whereabouts failures, including one filing failure and three missed tests, between January 1, 2019 and January 24, 2020.

“Obviously Miss Naser is quite pleased with the decision as will any athlete who faces these sorts of charges and allegations,” Dr Crowne told the Observer.

“The process has been quite daunting, so hopefully now she can put it behind her and resume her training and refocus on her professional career,” he added.

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