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Canada won't pursue charges against Anthony Galea

Friday - 4/13/2012, 5:26pm  ET

TORONTO (AP) - Canadian authorities have no intention of pursuing charges against a renowned sports doctor who was convicted in the United States for importing unapproved and mislabeled drugs.

Dr. Anthony Galea has helped Tiger Woods and other prominent athletes come back from injuries.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada said it has ordered a stay against the Toronto doctor but did not give reasons. The government could revive the charges within a year, but Crown lawyer Kerry Benzakein said prosecutors had "no intention of reinstating the proceedings."

Defense lawyer Brian Greenspan said Friday it was "absolutely the right thing to do in the right circumstances."

"They arrived at the conclusion that it was not in the public interest to prosecute Dr. Galea," he said.

The decision was made earlier in the month. Greenspan said he went public with it because it was time to "clear the air."

"It's time for the public to be aware that Dr. Galea no longer faces any criminal charges in Canada."

Galea had faced charges related to selling an unapproved drug, conspiring to import an unapproved drug, exporting a drug and smuggling goods into Canada. He avoided prison in the U.S. after pleading guilty in Buffalo, N.Y., in July last year to the mislabeled drug charges. In November, he was sentenced to time served.

Greenspan said Galea had already "suffered consequences" from the American conviction and that likely played a role in the Canadian decision to put a hold on the Canadian charges.

In addition, Greenspan said, the alleged breaches would have been difficult to establish, were minor in nature and would have resulted only in small fines had there been a conviction.

The former team doctor for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts was widely known for a blood-spinning injury treatment, but prosecutors said some patients received human growth hormone, which is banned by major sports.

Galea was not licensed to practice in the U.S. when he traveled across the border to treat athletes, including professional football and baseball players in several American cities.

Athletes often sought him out for platelet-rich plasma therapy, a treatment used to speed healing that involves extracting blood from patients and re-injecting just the plasma.

He became the focus of Canadian and U.S. authorities in 2009, when his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was stopped at the border in Buffalo with a small quantity of human growth hormone, Actovegin and vials of foreign homeopathic drugs.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)