Thousands of criminal cases may have been affected by failings and deliberate manipulation of evidence by two forensic labs in Manchester over a seven-year period.
Several employees of forensic laboratories Randox Testing Services (RTS) and Trimega Laboratories have been arrested and interviewed by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as a result of the alleged manipulation of evidence. Around 50 cases due to go to trial have also been dropped and two cases have been referred to the Court of Appeal.
All tests carried out by Trimega between 2010 and 2014 are currently being treated as potentially unreliable. The reliability of drug tests completed between 2013 and 2017 at RTS, a lab which is mostly commissioned by individual police forces investigating criminal offences, is also being investigated.
Policing Minister Nick Hurd said in a statement at the House of Commons: “The toxicology tests involved are used to detect the presence of drugs and in some cases alcohol in an individual’s hair, blood or urine. The alleged manipulation raises doubts about the reliability of some test results, which may have been subsequently relied on in Court proceedings.
Mr Hurd stated: “When GMP has concluded its investigation, the Government will consider what lessons can be learned to ensure public confidence in forensic science used in Court proceedings.
In additional to impact on criminal cases, results from the labs may also have been used by local authorities when making child protection decisions outside the Court process.
All live cases will be subject to retests, with the new results being used in Court. Defendants will be informed if these investigations uncover incorrect test results or cast any doubt on the lawfulness of their convictions.
Drug testing in criminal trials
Forensic analysis is a central component of many criminal trials, particularly those involving contested drink or drug driving allegations. At Blaser Mills, we have expert motoring lawyers, who frequently represent clients charged with drink driving, drunk in charge and drug driving and often instruct forensic experts to challenge the results of police data.
If you were convicted of an offence on the basis of forensic evidence from either Trimega or RTS labs, please contact a member of the Criminal Defence team. Equally, if you would like to discuss appealing your conviction, our Criminal Defence and Motoring specialists are well-equipped to advise on the merits of any case and the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Our team will shortly be publishing a useful Criminal Law Guide to Magistrates’ Court Appeals, with advice on appealing convictions and sentences. The PDF resources will be available to download free via the Insight section on our website. Alternatively, to request one in hard copy or be added to our mailing list, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org .