Why haven’t Victoria Police
sought the names of the AFL players who allegedly returned positive tests for illicit drugs?
Doesn’t the AFL now possess evidence of illegal drug use? Those players broke laws,
so aren’t the police duty bound to nab them?

Theoretically, yes. But according
to one Melbourne lawyer, there are reasons why the AFL footballers are
not “persons of interest”, not “helping police with their
investigations”, and not
being led into court with pixelated faces. Simply, it would be too
hard, cause
too much pain, and ultimately would not be worth it.

The longer answer goes something like this:
in order to obtain the information, the police would need a search warrant and,
as Crikey understands it, search warrants are more often used to raid drug
labs.

Given that the AFL and Victoria Police
have a good working relationship, a team of special agents breaking down the front
door of AFL House, securing the foyer, before asking the receptionist if she
would kindly page the person with the test results could be seen as overkill.

If the right information was found, it
could lead to a lengthy and expensive prosecution, which, if successful, might
only result in summary offences being recorded against the perps. Would that be
a worthwhile way to spend police time and public money? Probably not. And
definitely not when real drug barons like Tony Mokbel are still evading capture.

Further, there’s a reasonable chance the
police would be forced to answer uncomfortable questions about why they chose
to use their resources pursuing such a trifling matter. Worse still, if
those questions contained spelling or grammatical errors, there’d be almost no
chance of getting a response from Victorian Police Minister Tim Holding.

However, as we’ve seen before, if the
players’ names are released, their punishment will be far harsher – intense
media scrutiny and damage to their reputations – than if a judge
had slapped them on the wrist and sent them back to training.

Peter Fray

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