Forensic Toxicology and the role of the forensic toxicologist encompasses a broad spectrum of examinations; from measuring and interpreting blood and breath alcohol levels in road traffic offences to interpreting the levels of sometimes obscure poisons in cases of suspected murder.
Our forensic toxicologists
Forensic Equity boasts some of the UKs leading forensic toxicologists with many years of experience in the analysis and interpretation of levels of the widest possible range of drugs and poisons. All of them have also been authorised as alcohol analysts under the Road Traffic Act of 1981 and are therefore adept at so called ‘back calculations’ (calculating the contribution of post-accident drinking or drinks spiked without the knowledge of the consumer)
One example of where seeking a second opinion of an experienced toxicologist could be crucial would be where the prosecution seek to prove that a terminally ill person was murdered by a relative administering a larger than normal dose of the patients own analgesic, but where the alternative defence scenario is that the deceased person passed away naturally from their illness.
Blood levels of opiate drugs like diamorphine can be difficult to interpret and there may be a very fine line between a palliative and a fatal dose, particularly in patients whose bodily functions are impaired by their illness. These types of cases require interpretation by a highly experienced toxicologist to avoid a potentially innocent and caring relative being unjustly accused.
It is not only people accused of the more serious crimes that need the benefit of a forensic toxicologist. Driving under the influence of drugs is an offence where the both the impairment of the driver and the presence of a drug must be proven as there is currently no legislation that defines acceptable or illegal levels of drugs in the blood or urine of drivers. But it may not be that simple. What if when the driver’s urine is analysed and the drug found cannot account for the symptoms of impairment. Can the prosecution proceed? Only an experienced toxicologist can determine if the impairment symptoms match the drug.
Our forensic toxicologists have experience in a plethora of forensic toxicology services including: