Debate on DNA Bill to Continue This Week

Story Highlights

  • Debate on the DNA Evidence Act 2015 will continue in the Senate this week, after Minister of Justice, Hon. Mark Golding, agreed to a request by Opposition Senators to allow them more time to study the Bill, during the sitting of the Upper House on December 4.
  • The House of Representatives recently passed the Bill, which Minister Golding said is a “critical legislative instrument in our fight against crime,” and will aid in investigative undertakings of the security forces, and is a very important weapon against rapists.
  • He told the Upper House that the technology has been used in the court system for over 15 years, and has shown to be “conclusive” in resolving a number of “difficult cases,” with results of successful convictions of serious offenders, and in some instances the “exoneration of persons wrongfully accused or convicted of crimes.”

Debate on the DNA Evidence Act 2015 will continue in the Senate this week, after Minister of Justice, Hon. Mark Golding, agreed to a request by Opposition Senators to allow them more time to study the Bill, during the sitting of the Upper House on December 4.

The House of Representatives recently passed the Bill, which Minister Golding said is a “critical legislative instrument in our fight against crime,” and will aid in investigative undertakings of the security forces, and is a very important weapon against rapists.

He told the Upper House that the technology has been used in the court system for over 15 years, and has shown to be “conclusive” in resolving a number of “difficult cases,” with results of successful convictions of serious offenders, and in some instances the “exoneration of persons wrongfully accused or convicted of crimes.”

Emphasizing that DNA has been able to identify criminals may years after they have committed crimes, the Minister noted that the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) is receiving weekly reports of cases where young girls under the age of 16 years are pregnant for older men, but due to the reluctance of victims to attend court, the perpetrators go unpunished, but when the DNA law is passed, prosecution will become easier than is currently obtained.

“The major difficulty in bringing the perpetrators of these rapes to justice is the fact that the child victims are often reluctant to testify in court against the alleged perpetrators, either out of fear for their lives, fear of being ashamed, or otherwise wanting to protect the perpetrators,” the Minister noted.

He said it is unfair to the child victims, and law makers are duty bound to ensure that “our children are protected, and the perpetrators of these crimes are not allowed to go unpunished.”

“We can’t all be expressing concern and regret about these monsters preying on our children, but when we have a chance to do something about it we procrastinate,” the Minister said.

He pointed out that when this Bill is passed, CISOCA investigators will be able to compel the suspects to submit a DNA sample, which will be compared with the DNA of the abused children, and provide conclusive evidence of rape. “These perpetrators must be brought to justice,” the Minister emphasized.

Mr. Golding urged all Senators to give their support to the Bill, noting that it will have immediate effect on criminals.

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