Ten thousand criminal cases in England and Wales are being reviewed after it emerged that data at a forensic laboratory in Manchester may have been manipulated, causing the biggest recall of samples in British criminal justice history.
A minister said the alleged data manipulation was discovered in 2017 at a lab run by Randox Testing, but the Guardian can reveal that warnings about the lab run by a predecessor company date back to 2012.
Nick Hurd was forced to issue a statement acknowledging “the potential impact on public confidence” in forensic science of the revelations, while police said two cases involving road deaths had been referred to the court of appeal and about 50 prosecutions of drug-driving had been discontinued.
Those alleged to be involved in the scientific work under scrutiny had previously worked at a different firm, Trimega, which was criticised for the quality of its work in court judgments dating back to 2012. It was bought by Randox, and two senior Trimega employees were taken on in influential positions.
In 2012, an open judgment criticised Trimega for wrongly informing a court that the mother of a three- and four-year-old had been using increasing amounts of cocaine and opiates as as she fought to keep her children.
The court was told that following its error, Trimega had withheld an apology to the mother because it feared rivals would exploit it for commercial advantage.
I wonder if we’re now at the point where the cost of underwriting these mistakes has completely absorbed any notional saving from outsourcing the companies.