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.”