In yet another show of how governments should really work harder to protect their citizens, a man has been released after spending the last 4 months in prison after he was found to have methylamphetamine in his possession was released without charges. The man was released from prison after forensics came back on the methylamphetamine which he was found in possession of came back. The massive meth bust was anything but. The “crystal meth” that the man was in possession of, was salt.

The man from Maryborough, Queensland in Australia was arrested after the substance was found in his personal vehicle and because of that he was held in custody.

He was then detained for four months while police carried out forensic tests. We have all seen more than a few episodes of CSI by this point, so you would be forgiven for thinking that the process should take little more than a quick cut away with swelling music being played in the background, but the actual process takes longer than would be convenient for an hour long TV show. However the 4 month wait between the finding of the substance and the results coming back can be at best called excessive. The man’s lawyer, Travis George said the length of time was likely due his client’s previous criminal convictions.

Charges were dropped against the man after the returned test results confirmed that the substance was indeed Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate). Whether or not the man will be pursuing a civil suit against the police department for unlawful detainment remains to be seen, but this process has raised some questions about the Queensland Forensic team.

This latest blunder has prompted further criticism of Queensland’s Health’s Forensic and Scientific Services who previously faced condemnation from multiple sources after alleged delays in returning forensic tests.

A Maryborough magistrate, John Smith said, “For the last 14 years nothing has been done (about the delays)… once again the government needs to have a look at what they are doing in relation to this”.

Hopefully events like this don’t come with the regularity that they seem to in the future simply because of prejudice or incompetence. Maybe this latest case will be the kick in the backside that has been required to raise standards in the Queensland forensic department and an apparently innocent man doesn’t have to spend a third of a year behind bar for possession of a thing found on most dinner tables throughout the world.