JOE CASTRO AAP

Essendon claims set out in court case

LAWYERS for Essendon have claimed the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority knew there were doubts over the legality of its joint probe with the AFL into the Bombers' supplements program.

The claims, from the club and suspended coach James Hird (pictured), were made on the first day of the Federal Court challenge to ASADA's investigation of the 2012 program.

The court challenge began 18 months after the anti-doping authority began its probe after Essendon self-reported in February 2013.

It was argued by Hird and the Bombers that ASADA went beyond its legal powers by carrying out a joint probe into the events at the club in 2012.

ASADA denies it acted outside its legal powers and alleges it was Essendon and Hird who asked the anti-doping authority to look into the matter.

In opening submissions, lawyers for Essendon said ASADA investigators had raised concerns about the joint investigation.

"As early as February 8, ASADA knew there were doubts as to the legality of the joint investigation," Neil Young QC told the court.

"One of its own legal officers in an email on that day expressed the view that ASADA cannot have other parties such as the AFL present during investigation interviews.

"But that is what happened."

The court was also told by Young that ASADA tailored its interim report to suit the AFL's disciplinary needs.

The case continues today.



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