Belfast Telegraph

Randox forensic testing allegations: No Northern Ireland cases involved in police probe into 'sample fixing'

By Jonny Bell

Allegations of "data manipulation" at a forensics lab in England run by a Co Antrim company do not relate to criminal cases in Northern Ireland, the authorities here have said.

Randox Testing Services (RTS), which handles forensic testing for police forces across the UK, has denied claims that some samples were "fixed".

Police in England are reviewing almost 500 cases and have arrested two staff over what the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) called "data manipulation".

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched an investigation over claims that some 484 cases handled by Randox Testing Services (RTS) were affected.

Potentially hundreds of people could have been the victims of miscarriages of justice because of convictions based on incorrect test results in their cases.

However, none of the cases are believed to relate to cases in Northern Ireland.


Northern Ireland firm Randox denies claim police forensic testing 'fixed'

Randox forensic testing allegations: Northern Ireland firm's statement 

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "I can confirm that, at this stage, there is no reason to believe that any of the cases referred to relate to PSNI."

And Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI) confirmed last night that it has no contracts in place with Randox to conduct testing in Northern Ireland.

FSNI, an agency of the Department of Justice, provides testing services for the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

A spokesman said: "It has stringent procedures in place to ensure that it provides impartial scientific advice and support, which is objective, independent and carried out to the highest quality standards."

Randox said it was treating the matter with the "utmost seriousness", but totally rejected reports that samples were "fixed", blaming "the perverse actions of individual(s)".

A company statement said: "Please rest assured that RTS have acted with absolute propriety and speed in this matter, and will continue to work tirelessly with the police and all appropriate authorities to resolve the outstanding issues and support the ongoing police investigation."

Dorset Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: "We have been made aware of a quality failure with RTS which is currently being investigated, and a criminal inquiry has been launched by Greater Manchester Police. Randox has provided each force with a list of cases that could have been affected.

"Working in partnership with the Crown Prosecution Service, we have provided guidance to forces so they are able to review each case to determine if compromised data played a part in prosecution, and the CPS will then take appropriate action in any cases identified."

RTS is based in Crumlin, has offices in London and Manchester, and describes itself as "a world leader in clinical diagnostic solutions, with offices and distribution in over 145 countries".

RTS said the issue "came to light as a result of an internal investigation", and that the probe was limited to its Manchester site, and two men who worked there for three years.

It blamed "the perverse actions of individual(s)", adding: "Contrary to media reports, the internal investigation centres on the manipulation of quality control data, which supports test results. There is no evidence that either the samples or the quality control materials themselves were subject to interference."

Manchester police said two men, aged 47 and 31, had been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and bailed until next month.

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