Why Forensic Toxicologists Used Hair Sample In Silverchair Daniel Johns Case

When former Silverchair lead singer Daniel Johns faced court over drink driving charges in 2022, forensic experts found an innovative way to prove he stopped drinking after the crash.

Forensic toxicologist Dr Michael Robertson worked with Daniel Johns’ lawyers on the case, and told the Crime Insiders podcast how a strand of hair can show general drinking patterns.

“He was he was he was a lovely guy,” Robertson said, “He put his hand up. He said, look, I’ve had a problem with alcohol.”

Dr Robertson talks about the case on the latest episode of Crime Insiders:

Robertson said the concentration of a metabolite, ethyl glucuronide, in hair can show a person’s drinking patterns from up to three months before.

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Robertson visited Daniel Johns in rehab to collected a hair sample immediately after the crash, and took another six months later.

“We looked at another three centimetre segment and we showed that that alcohol use had disappeared.”

Robertson then wrote a report for the court to state that the forensic evidence was consistent with Daniel Johns’ claim about his rehabilitation.

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