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High Court judge pans testing delays

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

13 May 2004

High Court judge pans testing delays

Vital evidence in the case against an alleged methamphetamine drug cook may take two years to get tested, says National MP Tony Ryall.

This revelation by police has prompted a senior High Court judge to call for 'urgent steps' to deal with the backlog of drug tests at Environmental Science and Research.

Justice Potter's comments in the New Plymouth High Court last month suggest that such testing delays put cases against alleged drug dealers and drug cooks at risk of dismissal. She described the delays in the strongest terms seen yet, as 'extremely serious' and 'intolerable'.

Mr Ryall says "the Government has known about testing delays at ESR for at least two years. Yet ministers have chosen to ignore the growing backlog.

"In Parliament today ministers refused to accept any responsibility for the crisis, but admitted a backlog of 165 cases with another 300 cases expected this year.

"When a drug dealer walks free because of the delays, ministers will run from accountability. The Government should have acted years ago," says Mr Ryall.

Ends


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