DNA EVIDENCE COLLECTION: OMBUDSMAN'S RECOMMENDATIONS
The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS:
Earlier in question time the Hon. Catherine Cusack asked me a question about statutory review of the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000. I have been provided with the following response:
There have been three statutory reviews of the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000.
Section 123 required the Legislative Council standing Committee on Law and Justice to enquire into and report on the wider social and legal implications of DNA information and other matters.
An independent researcher, Professor Mark Findlay, undertook the review of the Act in accordance with section 122 of the Act—
There have been Government responses to both of those—
and Section 121 of the Act required the Ombudsman to monitor the operation of the Act.
I am advised that report dated 2006 was released in 2007:
Combined, the three reviews made over 200 recommendations, a substantial proportion of which required legislative amendments, which were implemented by amending instruments in 2002 and 2006.
The Government is currently considering the NSW Ombudsman's report—and will respond in due course.
In the mean time, the Government is investing resources to help speed up the processing of DNA tests.
To this end, we have committed to investing $22.45 million over four years to undertake more DNA tests, speed up testing and purchase new cutting edge forensic technology for police.
This includes $4 million for robotic technology that will automate and speed up DNA analysis.
This Government has allocated $1.5 million in extra funding specifically for cold cases, assisting police to re-investigate old murders and serious offences in light of new DNA technology.
For the record, I make it quite clear that the Government has shown a continued commitment to guaranteeing that police have appropriate forensic tools at their disposal through this funding but I also want honourable members to note that on 27 July 2007 the shadow Attorney General had this to say about DNA:
We must be careful not to allow police who perhaps are over zealous to step out of hand.
Some steps may have to be taken to destroy DNA material if people are acquitted.
Questions without notice concluded.