Drug-driving bans overturned in wake of testing scandal

Author: Adam Whittaker

At least 40 motorists convicted of drug-driving offences have had their convictions overturned after evidence was found that a forensic testing laboratory tampered with the samples.

An investigation has been launched and a further 50 drug-driving cases have been dropped.

Around 10,500 samples from convicted motorists are being re-tested after allegations that Randox Testing Services’ Manchester laboratory had manipulated the results.

So far, as many as 2,700 cases have been re-assessed and two cases that involved road deaths have been referred to the Court of Appeal. Although the convictions were upheld, one of the drivers had their sentenced reduced.

Two other cases, which were not fatal, were also referred to the Court of Appeal, resulting in one of the convictions being quashed, while a decision is still being awaited on the other.

“This is a real blow to the credibility of the criminal justice system”, said Andrew Costello, a partner in Russell & Russell’s criminal defence department who specialises in representing clients facing motoring convictions. “Any ruling to fine, ban or jail someone is based on solid, undisputed evidence, so there cannot be any doubt about the culpability of drug-drivers.

“A false or questionable prosecution process has all sorts of implications, not just for those accused, but the victims as well. People who face losing their licence may lose their livelihoods and those who have been injured, or have had loved ones injured or even killed, as a result of people driving under the influence of drugs should not be put through the agony of convictions potentially being overturned due to failures in the reliability of the testing process.”

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