The use and misuse of DNA profiles in Australia

Bradshaw, Rachel (2013) The use and misuse of DNA profiles in Australia. Australian Bar Review, 37 (1). pp. 17-39.

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Abstract

This paper critically analyses the use of the National Crime Investigation DNA Database (NCIDD) and compares DNA databases in foreign jurisdictions to provide context and an informed basis for law reform in Australia. It is argued that safeguarding civil liberties and privacy are important and should not be prejudiced in the pursuit of the public interest in securing successful criminal prosecutions. A number of inherent weaknesses in DNA profiling are discussed to illustrate its limitations including problems relating to contamination, coincidental matches and laboratory errors. Misconceptions regarding the fallibility of DNA evidence are also discussed to highlight how this contributes to poor decision-making by juries and, in a broader context, [*2] threatens individual privacy and freedoms. Recommendations for law reform are suggested, including the need to clarify both the investigator's and prosecutor's powers to use DNA profiling and the introduction of a range of protections and safeguards relating to the use of DNA databases.

Item ID: 31586
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0814-8589
Keywords: civil liberties; DNA profiling; evidence; expert evidence; law reform
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Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2014 00:14
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940403 Criminal Justice @ 100%
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