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|SSHD v Skripal (2018) EWCOP 6||
Nerve agent poisoning
"On 4 March 2018 Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were admitted to hospital in Salisbury. Tests carried out by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down concluded that they had been exposed to a nerve agent. Both Mr and Ms Skripal remain in hospital under heavy sedation. The precise effect of their exposure on their long term health remains unclear albeit medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree. The fact of their exposure to a nerve agent has already had significant consequences on the wider domestic and international stage which I need not go into for the purposes of this judgment. However central to the application before me is the fact that on 14 and 16 March 2018 the UK government issued a formal invitation to the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a team of experts to the United Kingdom 'to assist in the technical evaluation of unscheduled chemicals in accordance with Article VIII 38(e).' This in effect is to independently verify the analysis carried out by Porton Down. In order to conduct their enquiries the OPCW wish to: (i) Collect fresh blood samples from Mr and Ms Skripal to (a) undertake their own analysis in relation to evidence of nerve agents, (b) conduct DNA analysis to confirm the samples originally tested by Porton Down are from Mr and Ms Skripal; (ii) Analyse the medical records of Mr and Ms Skripal setting out their treatment since 4 March 2018; (iii) Re-test the samples already analysed by Porton Down. Because Mr Skripal and Ms Skripal are unconscious and neither are in a position to consent to the taking of further blood samples for these purposes or to the disclosure of their medical records Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust have quite properly confirmed to the UK Government that a court order would be required to authorise (a) and (b) above."