Essendon hearing told of top involvement
ASADA investigator Tevor Burgess is question by media after leaving the Supreme Court from the case looking into the AFL-ASADA Investigation into the alleged use of banned substances at the Essendon Bombers Football Club on August 13, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

A senior Gillard government official told ASADA bosses that the AFL wanted them to continue in the role of the "bad guys" during the Essendon drugs scandal - while at the same time preparing to "go the support staff" at the embattled club.

On day three of the Federal Court hearing into whether the joint investigation into the Bombers between the drug authority and the league was illegal, ASADA operations manager Trevor Burgess gave evidence.

On the stand, Mr Burgess again revealed the extent of top government involvement in the case - which included senior Prime Ministerial advisor Richard Eccles feeding information about the AFL's intention to ASADA.

On a meeting in June 2013, Mr Eccles told Mr Burgess of the AFL's intentions regarding the punishment of the club, which were due to be discussed at an upcoming AFL Commission meeting.

In notes from the meeting, Mr Burgess recorded that the "AFL (were) keeping pressure on ASADA to be the bad guys" during the investigation.

And ASADA were also told that the AFL were planning to hit senior coach James Hird with a "minimum six months or much longer", with the plan that the "AFL will go" the club's support staff.

Hird was eventually banned for a year by the league.

Aaron Walker, ASADA's principal investigator, who carried out many of the interviews of the Essendon players and Mr Hird, also revealed that representatives of at least one other AFL club were interviewed as part of his investigation.

The former Queensland murder detective said that a letter from AFL investigator Abraham Haddad about "compellability" referred to a request for representatives of a club other than Essendon.

He also said he had not treated the AFL as a partner in the investigation, but an overlapping party.

He also outlined how Deloitte's were given list of search terms which were used to glean information from the phones and computers of dozens of people at the club.

The case is due to finish today, with Justice John Middleton to reserve his decision.

The West Australian

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