• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11
  12. 12
    12
  13. 13
    13
  14. 14
    14
  15. 15
    15
  16. 16
    16
  17. 17
    17
  18. 18
    18
  19. 19
    19
  20. 20
    20
  21. 21
    21
  22. 22
    22
  23. 23
    23
  24. 24
    24
  25. 25
    25
  26. 26
    26
  27. 27
    27
  28. 28
    28
  29. 29
    29
  30. 30
    30
  31. 31
    31
  32. 32
    32
  33. 33
    33
  34. 34
    34
  35. 35
    35
  36. 36
    36
  37. 37
    37
  38. 38
    38
  39. 39
    39
  40. 40
    40
  41. 41
    41
  42. 42
    42

DNA Fingerprinting: A review of the criticisms of DNA evidence. Is it really the absolute identification evidence?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

LONDON SOUTHBANK UNIVERSITY Theodore Ninopoulos - Student No. 2151002 LLB Law -Year 3 - Full Time Dissertation May 2004 Supervisor: Mrs. Kathy Stylianou Word count: 9800 Title: "DNA Fingerprinting: A review of the criticisms of DNA evidence. Is it really the absolute identification evidence? TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction.................................................................................page 2 PART 1 "From the Crime Scene to the Forensic Lab" 1.1 Collection of DNA evidence.....................................................page 4 1.2 Technical Analysis................................................................page 9 1.3 Estimation of Match Probability................................................page 14 PART 2 "Retention of DNA Evidence" 2.1 The Development of Law......................................................page 17 2.2 Retention of DNA profile and Civil Liberties...............................page 21 PART 3 "Presentation of DNA evidence in Court" 3.1 DNA Fingerprint or Profile?...................................................................page 25 3.2 The controversy of Bayes Theorem...........................................page 27 3.3 The Prosecutors Fallacy.........................................................page 32 Conclusion................................................................................ page 36 Bibliography..............................................................................page 39 Introduction Today, DNA profile has been accepted by many as absolute identification evidence. Townley and Ede (2004) recognised its application to criminal law enforcement as the biggest development of human identification since the discovery of fingerprint in the start of the 20th century. Ebisike (2000) baptised it as the most powerful and most convincing evidential tool in criminal trials. However the opinions about DNA profile are in dichotomy. DNA profile has been heavily scrutinized by Hall1 who resembles it to evidential "black box" and "black hole," and Farrington2 who argues that DNA stands for "Do Not Accept." It is the myth that DNA evidence is infallible which has led to such criticisms. It has also been reported that most cases in which DNA evidence is presented end in conviction3. The collection and preservation of evidence are quite sensitive procedures which entail great dangers. DNA evidence may be contaminated if appropriate care is not taken. Therefore, the prosecution must be able to specify the chain of custody of a DNA sample which produced a DNA profile. Furthermore, the sample cannot produce an accurate profile if it has been subject to degradation. ...read more.

Middle

of the PACE Act 1984 and therefore it would have an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings, under s.78 of the PACE 1984. As a fact, each hair is surrounded by a sheath which consists of leaving tissue. Thus, the appellant argued that whereas a hair is a non-intimate sample within the meaning in the 1984 Act, the sheath is a separate entity and does not come within the acts definition of a non-intimate sample. However the court of appeal dismissed his claim and decided that what is obtained by plucking a hair is "hair" for the purposes of the Act. Five years later, new changes were made by the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 which provided the police with powers to take samples from persons that were acquitted or prosecuted, as soon as the samples have been obtained lawfully. This extension of powers was a direct result of the House of Lords ruling in Attorney-General's Reference41. In 1997, an old woman was raped anally by a man who broke into her house. A swab was taken from semen found on her body which produced a DNA profile that after was afterwards placed in the National DNA Database. In 1998 D was charged with burglary and a swab was taken from him without his consent. However, although he was acquitted of the offence, his DNA profile was not destroyed. Instead it was placed in the National DNA database and indeed it linked him with the rape of the old woman in 1997. The man was arrested but he denied of being involved in rape. In his trial the judge ruled that the DNA evidence that linked him with the rape was inadmissible by reason of section 64(3)b of the PACE Act 1984 as amended, which prohibited the use of information derived from a sample ought to have been destroyed. Consequently, the crown did not offer any other evidence and the man was acquitted. ...read more.

Conclusion

It has to be admitted, that the very high accuracy rates that DNA evidence achieves, among with the fact that there has to be sound and severe scientific background to understand the procedures in DNA evidence collection, from the crime scene and all the way to the Court, is a very comforting way to rely solemnly on this evidence and deny the importance of i.e. a live witness or other evidence, which may be considered subjectively affected. This is considered by the conductor of this paper as the most important consideration, since this would not be the first time that a scientific method is presented to the public and to the legal science as the ultimate method to solve all cases and to withstand any objection as to its perfect results. There has to be reminded, for instance, the suggested perfection of the Bertillon anthropometric data collection system, the French predecessor to the fingerprint analysis. It was supported that there cannot exist two different persons with the same Bertillon dimensions (although the possibility was admitted for twin brothers or sisters). And though, in the U.S. there existed two such persons who could only be told apart by fingerprint examination. Another example is the so-called "Lie Detector" device which surprisingly aroused itself many questions about its eligibility as evidence, primarily because it would deny the defendant his right to lie or not tell the truth in order to protect himself from an accusation. So the conclusion is that, it has to be reminded that the DNA evidence -once it is accepted in a case or a Court as a reliable method- will only give information about whether physical presence or physical contact has taken place. But the interpretation of such a statement, and the connection of such a statement to the other evidence in a case, will be the task of the Judge and/or the Jury. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Genetics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Genetics essays

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using DNA sequence data for assessing relationships ...

    DNA sequencing provided a high resolution, reliable method for the construction of phylogeny. DNA sequencing has many advantages over the previous method and was able to avoid the problems inherent to morphology. Character conceptualisation is rendered more straightforward for molecular data than for morphological data [2].

  2. Initial Crime Scene Reports

    a possible liquid accelerant as it reaches the lowest point, I know this because a fire burns upwards and outwards not just the lowest point After I had a preliminary inspection of the crime scene I used a yellow tape to prevent any unauthorized personal entering the scene and contaminating the evidence.

  1. Objectives:To amplify a 500bp fragment of lambda DNA. To understand the principles and the ...

    In this experiment, we used 1kb DNA ladder to determine the DNA sample fragment sizes. Primer Design means proper design of primers is critical to successful PCR amplifications. The general features of well-designed primers are listed below: a) Primer should contain 15-30 nucleotides in the complementary region (3'-end of the molecule)

  2. Plan of essay - Logical and clear orderIntroductionSection 1 - Success of DNA in ...

    Example Use journal which indicates that scientific discoveries which will allow DNA to be abstracted from old and burned bones. Support examples with evidence Comment about the evidence given and the implications it has in the future.

  1. Imagine that you are a behaviour geneticist interested in the heritability of personality attributes. ...

    On the other hand, it was recently reported by Drayna Dennis in the New England Journal of Medicine (Jan., 2006) that researchers Demir and Dixon found one specific gene in the fruit fly that demonstrated orientation and sexual behavior (Drayna, 2006).

  2. DNA Fingerprinting Lab Analysis.

    The DNA molecules must have identical palindromes that the enzyme cuts at the restriction site. 3. What are restriction enzymes? How do they work? What are restriction sites? Restriction enzymes are degradative enzymes that recognize certain palindromes and cuts up DNA that is foreign to a bacterium.

  1. Genetic Fingerprinting has Uncovered More Than Suspect Culpability.

    in which innocent people were convicted, some of the aforementioned identification techniques were used and later proved inaccurate. (See Fig 1). In these cases, innocent people served an average of seven years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

  2. Darwin and Natural Selection

    in structure but has feathers and wings, this mix of features has shown conclusive evidence of a link between reptiles and birds (Ostrom, J.H. 1976). Perhaps the most compelling evidence for natural selection and evolution is at the molecular level.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work