The trial of Richard Bromley, who is accused of causing the death of his 19-year-old girlfriend Claudia Williams in a car crash in Guilden Sutton on June 24, 2013, resumes at Warrington Crown Court this morning.
The 23-year-old from Daniell Way in Great Boughton denies the charge of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.
Our reporter Mike Fuller is at the court and will be providing live updates throughout the sixth day of the trial.
As the jury retires once more to allow for more legal discussion to take place, we are bringing our live coverage of the Richard Bromley trial to a close for today. Thank you for following our regular updates throughout the day.
No check sheet
Mr Lucas said: “Because there is no check sheet, we don’t know whether your analyst followed all the procedures. We are just hoping they did. Any analyst can make a human error.”
Mr Lucas is still examining the witness about the practices at the testing firm. The defence say they have an issue with the testing process which brings its accuracy into question.
Mr Lucas said: “In abstract, human error can have some effect on the reliability of the result.” Dr Piper says yes.
The defence say they have an issue with the accuracy of the analysis conducted by Dr Piper’s firm, Randox. Police outsource the carrying out of such blood tests to private companies. Mr Lucas said: “I’m sure you want to get the most accurate possible results, but you also want to make a profit don’t you?”
Alcohol not absorbed
Mr Lucas said: “If Richard Bromley is driving and he has alcohol in his stomach it will not contribute to his driving being impaired because it has not yet been absorbed.” Again the witness agrees.
Calculations not perfect
Mr Lucas said: “None of these calculations are perfect, they are making certain assumptions.” Dr Piper agrees.
Most likely situation
Dr Piper maintains from his calculations even if Bromley had only drunk one and a half pints at the pub it was still most likely he was over the limit at the time of the collision.
Under the limit claim
Allowing for this, the defence say it is possible Bromley was under the legal limit at the time of the crash.
Absorbed into his blood
The jury are now being brought back in. Prior to the break, Mr Lucas was making the point there was the possibility two of the three and a half pints Bromley says he drank on the night of the crash had not yet been absorbed into his blood by the time of the collision. This is based on the one and a half pints Miss Williams’s father saw the defendant drink during their family meal at the Trooper pub in Christleton before the crash.
There will be a short break for legal discussions.
Dr Piper agrees ‘as a hypothetical situation’ that Bromley could have consumed two pints in a period before the crash and still have been under the legal limit at the time, approximately 9.30pm, because it had not yet been absorbed.
Mr Lucas said: “I’m going to suggest there’s the possibility after the accident, but before six minutes past midnight, the alcohol is then absorbed so you could get a higher reading at the time of the specimen being taken.”
The defence says the analytical results are based on an assumption Bromley had already absorbed the alcohol he had consumed into his blood. Mr Lucas suggests it would have been delayed due to the food he eaten at the pub.
Mr Lucas asks Dr Piper about the calculation would most likely give Bromley a result of 0mg of alcohol in his blood just past midnight if he had drunk three and a half pints between 6pm and 9pm as the defence says he did. Dr Piper clarifies zero is the most likely result, but a range means it could also be up to 52mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
The jury are brought back into the courtroom.
Court resumes after lunch
Parties are returning to court for the resumption of the trial after lunch. Phillip Lucas QC, who is defending Richard Bromley, is due to begin his cross examination of toxicologist Dr Mark Piper.
Court has broken for lunch and will resume at 2pm.
Must have drunk more
Mr Myers said: “Just to clarify. Would Richard Bromley have to have drunk more or less than three and a half pints to explain that reading at 00.06am?” Dr Piper said: “He would have had to have drunk more than that.”
Blood alcohol level
Dr Piper adds from the same figures the defendant’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash would be 37mg per 100ml.
Estimated alcohol level
Mr Myers puts it to the witness that Bromley says he consumed three and a half pints of lager between 6pm and 9pm on the night of the crash. Bromley’s sample was taken at 00.06am. Dr Piper says it is possible to estimate what figure it would be based on those suggestions from the defence. He says: “Based on calculations based on Richard Bromley’s age, weight and height the level of alcohol most likely to be in his blood would be zero.”
Dr Piper says the average rate alcohol is eliminated from the blood which scientists work on is 19mg per 100ml of blood per hour. He adds in actuality this rate varies person to person.
Raw analysis of Bromley’s blood found an average of 119.09mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood across two tests of the same sample. Dr Piper explains the ‘allowance’ means 6% is taken off this in order to get the ‘not less than’ figure of 111mg per 100ml.
No common drugs
No common drugs of abuse were found in the same sample of the defendant’s blood.
The witness clarifies the figure found in Bromley’s sample was ‘not less than’ 111mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Dr Piper said: “There’s still allowance made for a degree of uncertainty.”
Dr Piper is explaining the testing process of head space gas chromatography used on Bromley’s blood sample.
Dr Piper says samples can be kept in a refrigerator for a number of months and still be acceptable to test. Mr Myers said: “What about the period of five to six weeks we are dealing with in this case?” Dr Piper said: “That would be perfectly acceptable.”
The prosecution is leading Dr Piper through his evidence. He is speaking about the process samples go through when they reach the testing company, Randox, to make sure they have not been tampered with. Randox received Richard Bromley’s blood sample on July 16, 2013.
Evidence from Dr Mark Piper
Mr Myers has now called toxicologist Dr Mark Piper to give evidence.
Blood alcohol level
The jury are back in courtroom here in Warrington for the second week of the trial of Richard Bromley. Benjamin Myers, prosecuting, is reading out the evidence of the forensic scientist who carried out a blood alcohol analysis of a sample from the defendant. Tests found 111mg of alcohol in 100ml of Bromley’s blood, over the legal limit of 80mg.