SUB-HEADING: "Decision as to whether police should face charges over death of former footballer has been delayed over postmortem concerns."

PHOTO CAPTION:   "Former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson died in August 2016 following a clash with police outside his father’s home."

GIST:  "A decision over whether police officers should face charges over the death of a former footballer who collapsed after being hit with a stun gun has been delayed because of concerns that postmortem tests may have been compromised. Dalian Atkinson, a former Premier League football star, died in August 2016 aged 48 following a clash with police outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire. Three West Mercia police officers have been interviewed under criminal caution, but a decision on whether a file should be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been stalled because of a “quality failure” within a company called Randox Testing Services (RTS) that was tasked with carrying out toxicology testing in relation to the case. The delay is hugely frustrating for family and friends of Atkinson who have said they are determined to discover the truth about his death. Dalian Atkinson death asks hard questions of police and football; At a pre-inquest review in Shrewsbury on Tuesday, it emerged that retesting of the samples – which is being carried out by Avon and Somerset police – would not be complete until next month, 14 months after Atkinson died. West Mercia police have said the incident that led to Atkinson’s death followed officers being called in the early hours to reports of concerns for a person’s safety..........At the pre-inquest review, Paul Marriott, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) case supervisor, said RTS had completed the toxicology work on the samples. He continued: “However, a quality failure within RTS was subsequently identified, which potentially compromised a significant number of cases across the criminal justice system nationally. “Due to the number of cases impacted by this Randox issue, Avon and Somerset police were tasked to coordinate the retesting nationally.” After the Shrewsbury coroner, John Ellery, raised concern about how long the process was taking in relation to Atkinson, the samples were sent for “urgent” retesting last week. Marriott said: “We have been advised in the last weeks that the full toxicology analysis will be completed in the week commencing 2 October.” Once the toxicology results are complete, a final postmortem can be produced and the IPCC will produce its report. An IPCC commissioner will decide if a referral to the CPS will be made. Marriott said he hoped the investigation would be finished by January. The IPCC said last month that three West Mercia police officers have been interviewed under criminal caution and served with gross misconduct notices. IPCC investigators have spoken to about 15 other police officers as witnesses. Atkinson was a star of an Aston Villa team that was runner-up in the Premier League in 1992, during which he scored Match of the Day’s goal of the season.........Police fear scores of convictions may face challenges to their safety because of the issue at the Randox laboratory in Manchester. More than 6,000 samples could have been affected, according to the National Police Chiefs Council."

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PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.