Non-Conviction’ DNA Databases and Criminal Justice: A Comparative Analysis
Journal of Commonwealth Criminal Law, pp. 55-77, 2011
Posted: 14 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 13, 2011
Common law countries share a growing receptiveness to the use of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in criminal investigation and prosecution, with the formalization and steady expansion of schemes of DNA collection and retention. Despite a general consensus regarding the significance and value of genetic material in criminal justice, there is considerable divergence in terms of the populations from whom DNA may be collected and the length of time for which DNA may be retained. This article takes a comparative approach by assessing the trajectory of the law relating to DNA collection and retention in a range of common law jurisdictions, and ascertains how aspects of particular countries‟ laws seek to resolve common problematic issues that arise concerning human rights, in particular the rights to bodily integrity, of privacy and the presumption of innocence. It identifies a common international movement to a risk- based approach and concludes that of the comparator jurisdictions the Canadian model provides the most fitting accommodation for human rights in DNA database expansion.
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