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Serious criminals will have DNA logged on international database

The Minister for Justice published the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013 today that will force criminals to give DNA samples.

Image: Researcher examining DNA sequence via Shutterstock

Updated 22.45

DNA SAMPLES WILL be taken from criminals convicted of serious crimes for a new DNA database.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter published the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013 today.

The aim of the database is to assist gardaí in tackling crime by being able to link cases and identify suspects. It also means that the Irish justice system will be able to search and be searchable in other national DNA databases.

Not only will it benefit criminal investigations, the database will also be able to identify missing and unknown persons, including unidentified human remains.
If a person is on the sex register, their DNA can be kept indefinitely.
“The intelligence generated will be invaluable to the Gardaí in relation to identifying prolific offenders involved in volume crime such as burglary but also in relation to serious offences against the person, such as homicide and sexual offences.
“It will contribute to the move towards more effective, targeted and smarter policing and will also facilitate cooperation with other police forces in relation to mobile criminals,” said Minister Shatter.

The Minister acknowledged that the database would establish someone’s innocence.

Shatter said there were “substantial changes” in today’s Bill compared to the 2010 Bill of the same name published by the last government. The main changes were amendments in the areas of keeping a person’s DNA if they were not convicted and international cooperation.

New “sophisticated robotic sample handling instruments” were already put in place at the Forensic Science Laboratory at Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park, while the installation of an information management system is at an advanced stage.

The actual data will be held on purpose built software supplied by the FBI to agencies around the world called CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). It is used in over 40 countries, including 18 EU member states.

First published 11.50

Poll: Is a DNA database a good idea?>

Serious criminals will have DNA logged on database from next year>

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Amy Croffey

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