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Guidance on unreliable or manipulated forensic toxicology tests

Date:24 NOV 2017
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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has released guidance for those concerned about potentially unreliable forensic toxicology tests. This follows police investigations into the potential manipulation of forensic toxicology test results at two private companies, Trimega Laboratories Limited and Randox Testing Services. The test results were used as expert evidence in England and Wales. The guidance includes examples which aim to help people understand where toxicology tests may have been used as part of decision making in court cases, and provides advice for those who believe their case may have been adversely affected by manipulated test results.
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The MoJ is currently treating test results from the laboratories as potentially unreliable. Results from other forensic test providers are not believed to be affected.

The MoJ has outlined examples of where toxicology tests may have been used as part of decision making in court cases.

Family court proceedings

This relates to cases where the court was asked to make decisions about a child’s upbringing and may have ordered a toxicology test to be carried out to help it make decisions. Hair strand testing for drug and alcohol use was undertaken by Trimega Laboratories Limited between 2010 and April 2014. Those who believe that a test by Trimega was carried out and may have materially affected the decisions made in respect of their child(ren) can contact the relevant local authority and original solicitor from the original court proceedings.

Individuals who wish to ask the court to change or set aside their order can complete the form C650 ‘Application  notice to vary or set aside an order in relation to children’ which has been created specifically for this purpose. The form and any attachments can be sent by e-mail or by post. Details are provided in the form. No fee will be payable if you use this form.

Civil cases

There is currently no information that any civil cases are affected, but for proceedings where expert evidence following hair strand testing for drug or alcohol use was relied on the MoJ suggests obtaining legal advice about the available options either from a solicitor or an organisation such as Citizen’s Advice

Criminal prosecutions and coroners’ cases

These relate to cases where Randox Testing Services carried out testing of blood, urine, and other bodily samples for drugs on behalf of the police between 2013 and 2017—those affected will be contacted by the police or CPS in due course.

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