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Criminal Proceedings: Genetics

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what research his Department (a) has commissioned and (b) plans to commission on the use of DNA mixtures evidence in court proceedings; (201451)

(2) what guidance his Department has issued to the courts on the use of low-tech DNA evidence in cases before the courts.

The Ministry of Justice has not commissioned any research on the use of DNA mixtures evidence in criminal proceedings, and has no plans to do so. Nor is it our practice to issue guidance to the courts on how to evaluate the admissibility of different kinds of evidence. However, the Independent Forensic Science Regulator will shortly be publishing a full response to the independent review “A Review of the Science of Low Template DNA Analysis”, which recommended the development of guidance on DNA technology for the use of participants in the criminal justice system generally. Furthermore, guidance on low copy number DNA evidence was issued jointly by the Crown Prosecution Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Interim Forensic Science Regulator to Crown prosecutors on 28 January 2008. It is available on the CPS website at:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/lcn_checklist.html.