John Jolliffe represented the Secretary of State for Justice in the Administrative Court in a challenge concerning the Mandatory Drug Testing regime. The regime and the associated Prison Service Order is the legal means by which drug tests are carried out on prisoners. The Claimant was a practising Muslim, who had claimed that he could not provide a sufficient sample for MDT purposes because he was fasting for religious reasons (albeit that it was not Ramadan). He was convicted of disobeying an order and was sentenced to serve additional days.

The conviction was challenged on the grounds that the reasons were insufficient; that the Claimant did not have sufficient mens rea to commit the offence; and on the grounds of article 9 freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief. The Secretary of State succeeded on the reasons and intent issues. It was found on the facts that the conviction had failed to consider article 9, and on that factual finding the challenge succeeded.  The MDT policy challenge was not pursued.

To read the full judgment, click here.