The Medical Toxicologist in an Albanian Court: Ethical and Legal Issues

International Journal of Clinical Toxicology 1:27-30 (2013)
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Recent developments in the field of forensic medicine and the judicial practice are both factors influencing considerably toward an increasing role of toxicologists in court hearings and litigation processes. The role of forensic toxicologist has been until a few decennia before a prerogative of the medico-legal specialists, but meanwhile a subspecialty of the general toxicology seems to have been created. Vis-à-vis the increasing presence of toxicologists in penal procedures of poisoning and intoxications, Albanian courts have created their own precedents and bylaws, regulating the presence, the opinion taking, and the relative importance such an expert opinion will have on the final sentence. Due to a multiplicity of factors, legal terminology with regard to drugs of abuse needs to be revised and parallel to such a revision a better defining of the role of expert toxicologist as a collector and interpreter of the scientific proofs seems necessary. Overlapping competencies with judicial bodies and confusing legislative measures will do nothing else but complicate issues that should be and can be easily resolved, through simple and appropriate interventions at different levels.

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