Convictions for drug-driving quashed in forensics lab inquiry

The criminal convictions of 41 folk have been quashed following a search into alleged data tampering with a forensics lab, the National Police Chiefs’ Council states.

The NPCC’s forensics lead, chief constable James Vaughan, said the 41 convictions or guilty pleas, all pertaining to drug driving offences, ended up being reopened and overturned.

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Another 50 drug-driving investigations ended up being dropped, with 2,700 results re-analysed because the allegations aimed at the Manchester laboratory emerged a year ago.

Vaughan described the scandal for the reason that “biggest breach of integrity in forensic science” in living memory. Some of the affected are since seeking compensation.

More than 10,500 criminal cases since 2014 are referred to as potentially affected following allegations that scientists on a Randox Testing Services site in Manchester had manipulated forensics data. There is an ongoing criminal investigation within the alleged tampering, with three former Randox laboratory staff now on police bail.

Vaughan declared 90% on the highest priority cases had now been retested. These included live criminal proceedings, convictions where person what food was in prison, and violent and sexual offences. All the cases in which the outcome had been altered were drug-driving convictions.

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Based to the samples retested to this point Vaughan said the incidence of flawed results looked like there was about 3% or lower. However, he added: “We shouldn’t underestimate the impact associated with an unsafe conviction using a driver. This is a major problem for us concerning undermining the boldness in forensic science.”

In may sometimes retesting process has proved impossible because some samples have been destroyed in accordance with storage regulations, or they may have degraded eventually. Cannabis, especially, became less detectable in older samples, Vaughan said.

Randox is expected to cover the vast majority of costs of retesting, with all the final bill likely stay in more than 2m. Vaughan declared that all retesting was expected to be performed by eliminate 2019.


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