Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Phil Goff - DNA Reports Released

Media Release
Hon Phil Goff

9 March 2000

DNA REPORTS RELEASED

The Minister of Justice, Hon Phil Goff, released two reports on DNA today.

The first report from Rt Hon Sir Thomas Eichelbaum and Professor Sir John Scott resulted from an incident in which the DNA profile of a victim was found in forensic samples from two unrelated homicides.

Sir Thomas and Sir John concluded that the most likely explanation for the result was accidental contamination during the early stages of processing at the ESR biology laboratory in Mt Albert.

The report made a number of recommendations aimed at minimising the prospect of contamination of DNA samples.

Sir Thomas and Sir John stressed that the events ought not to be regarded as throwing doubt on the usefulness of DNA analysis as an investigative tool.

The second report results from concerns about a case involving marginal DNA results. The results were originally reported as excluding the accused as the source of the DNA in question. Later testing using newer more sensitive technology, indicated that the accused was the likely source of the DNA.

The report considers the need for mandatory reporting protocols to establish a scientific threshold governing the interpretation of analysis results within the laboratory.

It concludes that it is not possible or appropriate to establish mandatory reporting guidelines but instead makes recommendations relating to disclosure of information in ESR forensic reports and the training of trial counsel in DNA methods and technology.

Mr Goff said, "DNA profiling is an extremely valuable forensic tool. Over the last decade, it has become increasingly important in criminal trials".

"DNA testing has the ability to eliminate a suspect from an inquiry, or to assist in establishing the suspect's involvement in a crime. DNA technology has been used successfully in many criminal investigations. Among the more notable examples, it led to the apprehension of the Auckland serial rapist."

"However, as these two incidents demonstrate, DNA analysis is not infallible. It is only one piece of evidence that any jury must consider, albeit an increasingly persuasive one.

"DNA technology is improving all the time so there is less scope for these kinds of incidents to occur. Nevertheless, I am concerned, as I am sure the public is as well, that these incidents are not repeated.

"I have discussed the content of these reports with the Minister in charge of the ESR,
Hon Pete Hodgson and with ESR itself. The ESR has responded positively to the two reports released today.

"Among ESR's responses have been to implement procedural improvements to packaging and sealing practices in dealing with samples to minimise the risk of contamination. It is also assessing changes needed to upgrade to a 'state of the art' DNA facility including changes to ventilation requirements.

"The ESR this year will further upgrade its DNA profiling techniques to a system which provides greater discrimination when comparing DNA profiles and improved sensitivity (called SGM+).

"I have also instructed the Justice Ministry to work with the Judicial Studies Institute, the Law Society and the ESR to improve training of judges and lawyers in the use and interpretation of DNA evidence.

"These measures will reduce further the likelihood of the problems addressed by the two reports re-occurring", Mr Goff concluded.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tax Working Group’s Road Map

Trying to analyse the interim report on the Tax Working Group (TWG) is like trying to review an entire All Blacks game, but at the half- time mark.

With so much still to be finalised, Sir Michael Cullen and his colleagues are going to need all the All Blacks’ fabled finishing skills to get a coherent, fiscally neutral package together by the February 2019 deadline. More>>

 

Meth Testing Report: Housing NZ "To Right Wrong"

Phil Twyford “Housing NZ acknowledges that around 800 tenants suffered by either losing their tenancies, losing their possessions, being suspended from the public housing waiting list, negative effects on their credit ratings or, in the worst cases, being made homeless.” More>>

ALSO:

No Reshuffle: Meka Whaitiri Removed As A Minister

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect... The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity Bill: Making History For Women’s Pay

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill, introduced to the House today, will make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim , using a more simple and accessible process within New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. More>>

ALSO:

Suffrage 125: NZ A Trailblazer For Women

“We acknowledge the work of Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, and all of the suffragists who tirelessly campaigned for the vote… Today we also need to ask each other: how we can continue to make our country a fairer and better place to continue the legacy of the suffragists.” More>>

ALSO:

Asylum: Refugee Quota Increasing To 1500

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels