Monday, May 26, 2003

DNA testing causes debate in murder case

The use of voluntary DNA testing in the investigation of a murder case in New South Wales has been applauded by victim support groups who are ill informed about the process said Justice Action's spokesperson Gregory Kable.

"Once police have some part of you like DNA, they will look further to profile you whether you're guilty or not. If they find some form of circumstantial evidence [or even flawed circumstantial evidence] to attach to your DNA they will plant the rest of the evidence on you like you had always owned it and you will be convicted and sent to jail guilty or not," he said.

How are you going to defend that allegation? Legal Aid?

Then you may as well plead guilty because in reality you have little or no defence at all if you depend on the State for your defence in 2003.

About 80 men are to take part in DNA testing in the southern highlands town of Bargo, and at Camden south-west of Sydney, in an attempt to narrow down potential suspects for the murder of Rachelle Childs, two years ago.

Mr Michael Strutt spokesperson for Justice Action said, "This seems to be another case chosen more for PR purposes [CSI Cold Case?] than because forensic DNA may provide clues. You don't hear about mass screenings to crack unsolved cases if the victim is an Aboriginal man or a prisoner on work release (like Terry Falconer."

Terry Falconer was murdered in custody and taken away by police from work release at Silverwater jail and found two weeks later chopped up in chicken wire and dumped in the river.

"There is clearly little scope for 'informed consent' once police have leaked their plans to the media and created so much public interest in who does or does not volunteer for DNA swabs."

"The police are not even letting on whether they have crime scene DNA to compare it with or what that might be.

Someone known to the victim might be far happier to volunteer for comparison with a rape test kit - knowing that he never had intercourse with her - than they would with, for example, items in her purse - which some of her friends may have come into direct or indirect contact with.

Few would also be happy to have their samples compared to all NSW crime scene samples or passed on to other jurisdictions for their DNA databases, but NSW laws allow police to do so for 'unlimited purpose' voluntary DNA samples."

"There is always the possibility that police do not expect to crack the case with DNA at all but are just looking to pressure someone into confessing - as at Wee Waa and during the first ever DNA mass screening in Narborough, Leicestershire. Jeremy Gans, of Melbourne University, refers to the technique of investigating a crime by observing the reaction of potential suspects when being asked to provide a forensic sample as "DNA request surveillance".

"It's a bit hard to say what prompted the police to conduct a media promoted mass DNA screening right now. They could be under unusual pressure on this particular case or they might have a political objective - such as seeking further powers to take and use DNA samples or trying to block any legislative proposals which might regulate mass screening.

In either case it also fitsin with their long term objectives to build up a big DNA database as soon as possible and to get the public accustomed to the idea that its up to them to prove that they are *not* guilty of crimes the police are unable to solve.

[Or to set people up by planting their DNA taken from home or prison or even the police cells then matching that on their recorded profiles to use as first evidence for a crime that may have even been committed by police themselves? That means the real perpetrators of crime may be endlessly set free?]

A civil liberties group is advising people not to take part in the screening process, New South Wales Council of Civil Liberties president, Cameron Murphy, says people need to be made aware of the dangers of disclosing their DNA.

[Unlucky for prisoners who are mandated to give up their DNA by force?]

Cameron Muphy: "I don't think we can trust the police to ensure the integrity of our DNA," he said.

"You've got an enormous amount to worry about, there are a number of cases where DNA has been used to discriminate against people in employment, and used to discriminate against them in terms of insurance."

By Justice Action 26 May 03

THE POLICE: What about Noble Cause Corruption you never argued our case!!!

Search this site for DNA: Updated 2009

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