Oh dear me, ‘suspect’ DNA evidence has reared its ugly head again! Ever since British geneticist, Sir Alec Jeffreys’s discovery of techniques for DNA fingerprinting and DNA profiling back in 1984, methods of which are now used worldwide in forensic science, criminal courts have overwhelmingly relied upon such science-based evidence in order to determine a suspect’s guilt or innocence. DNA profiling was supposed to ensure no innocent person could ever again be railroaded!
Unfortunately DNA science does not take into account the human condition, that of ‘over-zealousness’. Convictions for crimes including rape and murder have been thrown into doubt in America by the admission by FBI that, for 20-years its forensic experts have consistently overstated the significance of hair matches to favour prosecutors, and presumably because there was no other evidence by which a suspect could be successfully prosecuted! The FBI has said that of 28 examiners in their laboratory, 26 exaggerated their findings in 95% of the 288 trials reviewed thus far. There are an estimated 2500 cases in line for reassessment. Some of those suspects convicted on DNA hair match evidence alone were sentenced to death row, 14 of whom have been executed or died in prison. The answer must be, reliance cannot be placed on just one piece of DNA evidence, otherwise ordinary, innocent citizens caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, will serve time! We must have faith in out government and its agencies!
Even more disturbing news my friends! Police forces across the UK are trialling technology that allows officers to analyse DNA samples in custody suites, amid fears that civil liberties could be infringed and evidence compromised. This is yet another cost-cutting exercise, for RapidHIT machines, developed in the US by IntegenX, removes the need for forensic expertise, with police officers operating the machinery after a two-week training course! F**k, I wouldn’t want my fate sealed by general ineptitude, would you? Those in favour of this new course of crime detection will no doubt say, ‘The quicker we can get the results, the quicker we can a violent criminal off of the streets and the quicker we can get a conviction’. Of course there is merit in this argument, however, there are very few prison cells available throughout the year, which is why so many active criminals are offered indefinite bail, and will continue to be offered it. As far as trials are concerned, courts are backed up over a year. Early DNA detection will not bring about an early trial date! Is Sir Alec Jeffreys’s work being bastardised by taking shortcuts to the truth, possibly? I repeat, the answer must be, no one should be taken to trial where there is only one piece of DNA evidence available. Regrettably, true crime detection has become a thing of the past!
*I wonder how Alec Jeffreys might react if it is ever brought to his attention his DNA profiling techniques will soon be used by Barking & Dagenham Council on dog crap in order to track dogs owners who fail to pick up their pet’s poo?