Senate approves DNA Bill

Story Highlights

  • The DNA Evidence Act, which is a critical piece of legislation that will serve to aid in the fight against crime, was passed in the Senate on December 11, with 25 amendments.
  • The DNA Bill provides for the compulsory taking of DNA samples from suspects and convicted persons.
  • The DNA Bill was passed in the Lower House on November 17.

The DNA Evidence Act, which is a critical piece of legislation that will serve to aid in the fight against crime, was passed in the Senate on December 11, with 25 amendments.

Debate on the Bill was suspended in the Senate on December 10, to allow for amendments to be made to the First Schedule of the Act, which deals with offences and penalties.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, who piloted the Bill, welcomed the passage of this major piece of legislation.

The DNA Bill provides for the compulsory taking of DNA samples from suspects and convicted persons.

The Bill outlines and establishes procedures for collection, retention and preservation of DNA samples, provides for the destruction or the retention of DNA profiles, and also establishes offences and penalties for breaches of the Act.

These include falsifying any profile, swapping DNA samples or DNA profile with intent to deceive, and tampering with a container or package containing DNA samples of profiles.

The legislation also provides for the keeping, maintaining, and operating of a consolidated forensic DNA data bank, to be known as the National DNA Register, for the purposes of forensic investigation and human identification.

This Bill is the third major piece of pioneering legislation that has been put forward by the Ministry of National Security in the last three years.

The other pieces of legislation are the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act 2013, popularly known as the Anti-Lottery Scam, and the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act 2014, otherwise called the Anti-Gang Legislation. The DNA Bill was passed in the Lower House on November 17.

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