A Kenyan Court has acquitted Coach Claudio Berardelli over allegations of administering a banned performance-enhancing drug to former Boston and Chicago marathon champion Rita Jeptoo.
Sitting at Nairobi’s Milimani Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot acquitted Berardelli an Italian national alongside local coach Daniel Cheribo Kiplangat and a medic, Dr Stephen Kiplangat Tanui on Thursday.
In his ruling, Cheruiyot said, the prosecution failed to prove how Berardelli, Kiplangat and Dr Tanui conspired to administer the prohibited drug EPO on Jeptoo.
“After carefully analyzing all the evidence adduced by the 12 prosecution witnesses, I do not even find any iota of evidence to link Berardelli, Kiplangat and Dr Tanui with Jeptoo’s predicament,” ruled Mr Cheruiyot.
The magistrate freed Berardelli and Kiplangat but ruled that Dr Tanui will have a case to answer for operating a Chemist in Kapsabet Town without a license.
The three had been charged of allegedly conspiring to destroy the profession of Rita Jeptoo, who is serving a four-year ban, for testing positive for banned substance Erythropoietin (EPO) a charge they denied.
The offence allegedly happened on diverse dates between August and September 2014 in Kapsabet Town, Nandi County.
Jeptoo, a three-time Boston Marathon and two-time Chicago Marathon winner, tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test in September 2014, just before she was due to claim a $500,000 prize as the top marathon runner in the world.
The Magistrate also directed that their travel documents, which had been deposited in court, be released to them.