Jun 11 2021

Blood testing errors in drug driving cases

Analysis by a defence expert has once again identified failings in the work of one of the laboratories used by police forces to analyse blood specimens taken in drug driving cases,

There is a general perception among people that forensic science evidence is infallible; that it proves conclusively whether somebody is guilty of a crime or not. The truth, of course, is that scientific evidence is as fallible as anything else – perhaps even more so precisely because courts tend to accept it as correct without challenge and view anybody who says it might be wrong with suspicion.

Here at London Drink Driving Solicitor, we have always taken a proactive approach to scientific evidence and regularly challenge scientific evidence in the cases we undertake. That we were correct to robustly challenge scientists was, for us at least if not for some solicitors and judges, proven right by the Randox scandal of 2017/18 in which blood tests conducted by Randox Testing Services, a laboratory used by many police forces at the time, were found to be unreliable. In that case, it was suspected that employees had deliberately manipulated more than 10,000 test results over a 5 year period. Since the scandal came to light many people have had their convictions quashed.

For the past 18 months we have again been hearing accounts from toxicologists of laboratories conducting less than rigorous blood tests in drink and drug driving cases, which may have resulted in people wrongly being found to have exceeded the drink and drug driving limits.

This week we have begun receiving letters from the Crown Prosecution Service informing us that the results of blood tests looking for THC that were conducted by a company called Synlab may not have been reliable and inviting us to consider advising appeals against conviction. Synlab’s problem seems to have been around determining whether THC crossed the drug driving limit rather than the laboratory detecting THC when none was present. We are aware of solicitors firms who have received a large number of these letters already – we have only received two so far, which may be because of the way we challenge scientific evidence uncovers flaws in the scientific methodology used by police laboratories and results in acquittals.

If you have been charged with a drug driving offence it is worth challenging the reliability of the blood tests for the simple reason that mistakes are made that will result in people being wrongly told they have crossed the drug driving limit when they have not. While the forensic services regulator has promised to review laboratory’s work after what it called, “the latest in a series of quality issues affecting forensic toxicology”, you should not and cannot rely upon the regulator or any quality control systems to identify issues and save you from being wrongly convicted.

Don’t hesitate to contact us on 020 8242 4440 or via our contact page if you would like to speak with a solicitor who will rigorously challenge the scientific evidence against you and will do everything possible to defence your driving licence.