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First case dropped in RTS manipulation scandal
24 Feb 2017

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped the case against a 26-year-old alleged drug-driver from Cheshire whose blood test results were provided by Randox Testing Services (RTS).

Earlier this week two scientists from RTS were arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice after it emerged that some test results may have been manipulated.

The man, who has asked to keep his name anonymous, was first arrested in December 2015 on suspicion of drug driving. His blood samples were sent to RTS for analysis, and the results suggested he was over the limit for cannabis as well as testing positive for cocaine and a third drug. The man was adamant that he had not taken any illegal substances.

His case was represented by celebrity lawyer Nick “Mr Loophole” Freeman who earned his nickname following a series of successful defences involving high-profile clients such as Jimmy Carr and David Beckham.

Mr Freeman said: "We asked our expert to look at the Randox report. He identified a number of analytical issues that affected the reliability of the results. We wrote to the CPS two months ago raising our concerns but we heard nothing from them until we contacted them again this week [following the arrests]. This time they came back within 30 minutes to say the case against our client was now being discontinued.

"Every drug drive case where a conviction has hinged on data from Randox must, in my view, be reviewed. This current police investigation will have massive implications for drug drivers who have been convicted on the strength of a Randox blood-sample test.

“If it wasn't for the thorough and diligent work of our own expert, and his concerns over this case, our client may well have been wrongly convicted.

"We shall be reviewing all cases in which Randox has been involved in providing expert evidence which has resulted in conviction."

Police forces across the country use RTS to analyse prosecution samples but there were fears that 484 test results might be unreliable. In a statement the CPS confirmed it had dropped the case because "there was not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction".

The statement added: 'We are working with the Home Office, police and the Office of the Forensic Science Regulator to assess the impact of the testing failure at Randox Testing Services.”

A spokesperson for RTS, which is based in Northern Ireland, said the investigation centres on the "manipulation of quality control data, which supports test results".

A statement added: "A number of toxicology results have been compromised. RTS are working tirelessly to fully assess the impact and implications for each case. Where possible, when viable, samples will be re-run to provide robust, uncompromised results."

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for forensic science, said Randox had provided each force with a list of cases possibly affected.


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