The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Pilots’ drink charge sunk

Al­co­hol claims thrown out af­ter blood sam­ples de­stroyed at prison


The case against two Cana­dian pilots ac­cused of pre­par­ing to fly a pas­sen­ger plane while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol has col­lapsed af­ter their blood sam­ples were de­stroyed at a prison.

It came af­ter the Ap­peal Court ruled the Crown had not met its duty to sup­ply Jean-Fran­cois Per­reault and Im­ran Syed with their part of the blood sam­ple used to test for al­co­hol lev­els.

Pros­e­cu­tors said that af­ter “full and care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion” of the facts and cir­cum­stances there would be no fur­ther pro­ceed­ings in the case.

Mr Per­reault, 41, and Mr Syed, 39, were ar­rested on July 18 2016 be­fore they were due to take off on the Air Transat flight from Glas­gow to Toronto.

Syed, from Toronto, was ac­cused of per­form­ing “an ac­tiv­ity an­cil­lary to an avi­a­tion func­tion” when he al­legedly had 49 mil­ligrams of al­co­hol in 100 millil­itres of blood, more than double the le­gal limit pilots of 20.

Per­reault, from the prov­ince of On­tario, faced the same charge with an al­leged 32 mil­ligrams of al­co­hol in 100 millil­itres of blood.

They had charge.

The de­layed Air­bus flight set off with a dif­fer­ent crew the next morn­ing, with about 250 pas­sen­gers hav­ing spent the night at ho­tels close to Glas­gow Air­port.

At a pre­vi­ous hear­ing, which could not be re­ported un­til now, Pais­ley Sher­iff Court heard that both men re­quested part of their blood sam­ples when they were taken in July 2016 so that they could have them in­de­pen­dently an­a­lysed.

The sam­ples were among their be­long­ings when they ar­rived at HMP Low Moss on July 19 2016. How­ever, prison staff did not know what to do with them.

Paul Scoular, se­cu­rity man­ager at the prison, de­nied the work­ing for the Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice, said he was con­cerned the blood sam­ples might no longer be of any worth be­cause they had not been in cold stor­age. He dis­cussed his con­cerns with the pilots and said both men gave con­sent for the sam­ples, known as B, to be de­stroyed.

Mr Scoular passed the sam­ples to the prison nurse who put them in a locked drawer and later de­stroyed them when she heard the two pilots had been re­leased from the prison.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence him­self, Mr Per­reault said he did not give per­mis­sion for his blood sam­ple to be de­stroyed. A Crown Of­fice spokesman said: “We are work­ing with Po­lice Scot­land to en­sure there are proper pro­cesses and guid­ance in place cov­er­ing the re­ten­tion and stor­age of sam­ples when an ac­cused per­son is re­manded in cus­tody.”

 ??  ?? IN THE CLEAR: Cana­dian pilots Jean-Fran­cois Per­reault, left, and Im­ran Za­far Syed had de­nied the al­le­ga­tions
IN THE CLEAR: Cana­dian pilots Jean-Fran­cois Per­reault, left, and Im­ran Za­far Syed had de­nied the al­le­ga­tions

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