26 September 2023

DNA testers to face tests in inquiry

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The DNA testing at Queensland’s Forensic and Scientific Services is to be the subject of a Commission of Inquiry following claims by Queensland police that not all samples from crime scenes were tested in the lab during 2012.

Announcing the Inquiry, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it would be conducted by former President of the Court of Appeal, recently retired judge Walter Sofronoff.

“The people of this state must have confidence in the reliability of these results,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Concerns have been raised and this had led to the establishment of the independent review.”

She said additional information put forward by Queensland police increase the seriousness of the original concerns, prompting the need for the Commission of Inquiry.

The Premier said the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry would be determined in consultation with the Commissioner but will include:

* Whether the systems and processes in place for DNA testing conducted by Forensic and Scientific Services are reliable, conducted to an acceptable standard and achieve quality reporting of DNA results and matching;

* Whether testing adheres to contemporary best practice;

* Whether adequate external quality assurance and accreditation was in place; and

* Sample management.

Ms Palaszczuk said the Commissioner will examine the number of cases and date range necessary to satisfy the terms of reference and will receive submissions and hold public and private hearings.

Minister for Health, Yvette D’Ath said the Inquiry would ensure the community can have confidence in our forensic services.

“I welcome the fullest and most careful open and independent inquiry,” Ms D’Ath said.

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