Forensic Toxicology Expert Witness

We provide forensic toxicology expert witnesses and court reports

Forensic toxicologists identify, quantify, and analyse drugs, endogenous compounds and poisonous substances in samples. This can include body fluids, plant materials and drugs. Forensic toxicologists are highly trained in assessing the relationships between the identified substances and the clinical response this causes in the human body. In order to do this, forensic toxicologists must take into account substance-related factors such as the exposure levels, metabolism of specific chemicals, and drug interactions, as well as individual specific factors such as age-related effects, tolerance, and post-mortem redistribution. Forensic toxicologists sometimes become involved in concluding a probable cause of death in post-mortem cases.

An important part of the job of a forensic toxicologist is working with the legal system to provide information on the analysed samples. This is often in criminal cases but can also be in civil legal cases, for example in suspected work-related lead poisoning.

The field of forensic toxicology involves three main sub-disciplines: post-mortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology, and forensic drug testing.

forensic toxicologist expert witness

How specialist is a forensic toxicology expert?

Forensic toxicologists will have completed a degree in a subject relevant to their chosen field, for example, forensic sciences, medicine, pharmacology or toxicology. Many forensic toxicologists will also hold a master’s degree and/or PhD in a related area. Forensic toxicologists are often very senior toxicologists who have gained a lot of experience in other areas of toxicology first, such as analytical chemistry.

Once qualified, forensic toxicologists must provide evidence of their increasing experience and continued learning. In order to become registered on the UK register of toxicologists, it is necessary to hold an honour’s degree, have at least 5 years of experience in the field, and provide evidence of continuing professional development activity.

Why might you need to instruct a forensic toxicology expert witness?

Courts will often call a forensic toxicologist as an expert witness to explain the analytical results that form part of the evidence in a case. This may include giving an expert opinion as to whether a certain concentration of a chemical could account for the relevant clinical effects. For example, whether a specified amount of a prescribed medication could have been toxic to an individual under certain circumstances, or whether the concentration of alcohol in a defendant’s blood sample immediately following an offence is likely to have fundamentally altered their behaviour. Forensic toxicology experts are often instructed in cases of unexplained deaths and suspected accidental or intentional overdose. This typically involves analysing samples of blood, hair and other tissue for substances such as alcohol, prescribed drugs, illegal drugs and poisons. Some forensic toxicology experts may be particularly expert in post-mortem analysis. This may involve analysis of decomposition fluids which can provide an insight into substances ingested by the individual in the days and weeks prior to death.

Increasingly, forensic toxicologists are asked to give expert evidence in cases of drug facilitated rape, to ascertain whether a drink may have been ‘spiked’, and whether any drugs or alcohol present may have affected an individuals’ ability to give consent. Cases of driving-related offences may also require the expertise of the forensic toxicologist, to ascertain the most likely impact of a concentration of a drug or alcohol on a specific individual.

Other incidences where an expert in forensic toxicology may be instructed include:

  • Post-mortem analysis
  • Effects of drugs on an individuals’ behaviour at the time of an offence or in relation to fitness for interview
  • Effects of medications on alcohol metabolism
  • Explanation and interpretation of blood results in relation to drug driving
  • Toxicological analysis in relation to drug facilitated rape
  • Cases of unexplained death
  • Death by poisoning
  • Toxicological analysis of blood or hair in relation to child custody issues
  • Cases of chemical exposure
  • Anti-doping cases

What forensic toxicology experts does Expert Court Reports have?

We have a highly experienced and well-respected forensic toxicology expert witness on our panel, Dr Salah Breidi.

Dr Breidi has investigated and reported thousands of cases of forensic toxicology investigations including cases of drug and alcohol (hair, nails, blood, urine and oral fluid), medical, poisoning, steroids, antidoping, post-mortem and chemicals exposure cases for adults, children and infants. In October 2014 he was awarded a certificate of completion from the Justice Rapid Response (JRR) in conjunction with the International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS). This was to increase the pool of forensic experts that can be rapidly available to the international community and regularly assists States, the United Nations, as well as other international institutions such as the International Criminal Court (ICC). Dr Breidi has given oral evidence on numerous occasions. He has worked in family and child custody cases, criminal cases, road traffic accidents, public law proceedings under the Children Act 1989, personal injury and post-mortem cases.

Why use Expert Court Reports?

A good forensic toxicology expert witness should come with years of clinical experience as well as specific competencies to act as an expert witness. Look for someone who has established expert witness experience. Our forensic toxicology expert, Dr Breidi, has many years of clinical practice and established experience of acting as an expert witness.

How quickly can you provide a report?

At Expert Court Reports Ltd, we understand the pressures of the legal profession.  We recognise that litigation is subject to defined timescales and for this reason, we will be as flexible and accommodating as we are able to be.  However, we pride ourselves on not promising work that cannot be reliably delivered within a given timescale.  The quality of the evidence which is provided by our experts is subject to review and scrutiny.  All expert reports are subject to a detailed and robust proofreading process to ensure that our expert evidence is accurate and expertly formatted.

Instructing a forensic toxicology expert witness

If you would like to find out more about how our forensic toxicology expert witness could assist you, please call us on 01865 587865, email office@expertcourtreports.co.uk, or request a quote by completing our online form.

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