Defences Continuity of Exhibits

  Charged with drug driving? Immediate help is one ‘phone call away. This vitally important aspect of the prosecution case is all too easy for a busy defence lawyer to ignore. However, any such lawyer may wish to remember that, in any section 5A drug driving case, the continuity of movement of your blood sample exhibit, from you to the laboratory, may go something like this: i) Having been taken by a “registered health care professional” it will have been divided into two parts (one for you and one for the forensic science laboratory); ii) The latter part, the part which the police want analysed, was then given to the officer conducting the evidential procedure, or perhaps to one of his/her colleagues; iii) At some point the part to be analysed should have been given some sort of bar code; which the police will later say is enough to prove continuity; iv) It was then perhaps placed by the officer in the case, or another officer, into a police fridge (perhaps the one where officers keep their sandwiches, if their exhibits fridge was full!); v) It was then moved by another officer to be posted to the laboratory; vi) It was then transported to the forensic science laboratory (by one means or another), that forensic science laboratory perhaps located at the other end of the country; vii) It then should have been received by some clerical or other officer, at that laboratory; viii) It was then placed in another fridge by that person or one of his/her colleagues; ix) Then perhaps, days or weeks later, it was moved by somebody at the laboratory before eventually, x) Being handed to a forensic scientist, or one of his/her laboratory assistants, for the various tests to be carried out upon the sample.

Does that scenario fill you with confidence? Bear in mind the nature of the substance we are talking here. This is not a book being delivered by Amazon but a bodily fluid, your bodily fluid, which degrades and putrifies over time, if not kept in secure and sanitary conditions. You might also think that something as intimate as a sample of your blood (not given as say a blood donor might give), should be treated with the utmost care and respect and that the prosecution should be in a position to prove that this has happened. In addition this line of continuity of blood exhibit is crucial if the prosecution is going to prove its case. No clear line of continuity, or doubt concerning this, then no case to answer: it’s as simple as that. Moreover, following the alleged recent scandal at the Randox laboratory, you might well feel that you wish to ensure that every part of the prosecution case is entirely watertight before even considering your plea.

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