Mary O’Rourke QC (left) has been representing Dr Richard Freeman

Shane Sutton’s “hostile attitude” at the medical tribunal of former British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman was because he was hiding the truth, the hearing was told on Monday.

Dr Freeman’s defence lawyer Mary O’Rourke QC claimed ex-British Cycling performance director Sutton’s testimony lacked “credibility”.

Sutton walked out of the tribunal last month during cross-examination.

Dr Freeman denies ordering testosterone gel to British Cycling headquarters in 2011 knowing or believing it was intended for an athlete.

He says he was bullied into ordering 30 sachets of Testogel by Sutton to treat erectile dysfunction, a claim the latter denies.

While questioning Sutton on 12 November, O’Rourke had said he was “a liar, a doper and a bully”, prompting him to walk out despite his attendance being set to last two days.

On Monday, the hearing was played audio of Sutton’s appearance after the tribunal ruled on Friday that the Australian’s evidence was still admissible.

O’Rourke, who had wanted Sutton’s testimony disregarded because it was incomplete, said on Monday that he had left the tribunal when it became “too hot to handle”.

She wants the four charges Freeman is contesting thrown out, and in her submission she successfully asked for the audio of Sutton’s curtailed appearance to be replayed before the tribunal in Manchester.

Highlighting where Sutton had raised his voice and banged the table, she told the hearing he was “defensive” and “abusive”.

“I got a hostile attitude because he knows the truth about what happened here,” she said.

“If you have nothing to hide you don’t behave in that manner, you don’t start becoming abusive and banging the table.

“He fled before questions he knew were coming. He knew there was more material that would compromise him.

“He left because it was too hot to handle, not because of what I was saying.”

The hearing was also told on Monday that Sutton’s perception had been that he had been bullied by O’Rourke, but the tribunal panel clarified that they did not regard her conduct as bullying.

‘He got caught out’

Following the replay of the stormy session, which lasted about 90 minutes, O’Rourke added: “A witness of truth doesn’t behave in that way, a witness of truth doesn’t misperceive he’s bullied.

“A witness who has something to hide is going to be suspicious from the off.

“A witness who knows what he’s done and told lies and knows well about drugs, and the use and abuse of them, is a witness who goes on the offensive.

“A witness of truth doesn’t abuse counsel and Richard Freeman, who he calls a friend.

“He’s come along with agenda. Is he a liar? Yes. He got caught out.”

Earlier on Monday, O’Rourke told the hearing Dr Freeman did not attend on Monday after feeling “upset” by media reports of proceedings over the weekend.

During Friday’s discussion of potential delays to the hearing, which mean it could continue after its scheduled end date of 20 December, O’Rourke said her client would not be able to attend the tribunal in the new year because he had been prescribed a skiing holiday by his own doctor.

That led to media coverage which “caused him some distress”, O’Rourke said.

Dr Freeman has not attended the hearing since Sutton labelled him “spineless” during his appearance.

The independent tribunal has been called by the General Medical Council to assess Freeman’s fitness to practise.

The medic, who left British Cycling in 2017, admits 18 of 22 charges against him including ordering testosterone to the National Cycling Centre, trying to cover up the order and lying to a UK Anti-Doping investigation.

The tribunal continues.