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The Same Old Problem

Written by: Alan Baker 30th January, 2023

Until the imposition of drug driving limits in 2015, the CPS prosecuted drivers on the basis of Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act and needed evidence of impairment to support their case.

Whilst the number of prosecutions under the older section has diminished, Bericon still undertakes a considerable number of these cases each year.

A recent case still shows that poor initial assessment and poor case management is to the detriment of the courts.

Mr. A was spoken to by officers and said to be “chatty and giggly”. He volunteered that he had used cannabis the day before.

He failed a roadside drug test for cannabis.

Given his reported needled phobia, he provided a urine sample for analysis.

The resulted data showed that he had used cannabis but that the active component, THC, was not present. Given that the sample was of urine and the compounds not quantified, the scientist could not fully comment on an impairment.

Mr. A was assessed by a police officer using the MGDD/F procedure.

It was concluded that Mr. A was impaired given his performance in the assessed tests. However, scrutiny of these tests, including video footage, shows that Mr. A had possibly only failed 1 of the 5 assessments and even this was contradictory to the drug type in question.

Review of our report and the video evidence meant that CPS offered no evidence at trial.

In the United States, the accepted best practise is presented below.

Standardised Field Sobriety Test

These tests are utilised in the MGDD/F document in the UK, although it seems with mixed degrees of efficiency and success.

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