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DNA draft Bill expected today

Balford Henry

Friday, November 09, 2012 | 7:46 AM    

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THE Ministry of National Security says it expects to receive the draft of the long-awaited DNA Evidence Bill by today.

"I was promised by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC) that we would have the DNA Bill in hand by Friday, and I am holding them to that promise," permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Annmarie Barnes, told Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on Wednesday.

She said that she was sure that, with the sense of urgency projected into the issue by questions raised by the PAAC, she would be able to communicate the urgency of having the deadline by the CPC.

However, the permanent secretary pointed out that with a significant number of amendments on the legislative agenda there was pressure on the legislative machinery to meet its deadlines.

Dr Barnes was responding to a question from Opposition Member of Parliament Dr Horace Chang on speeding up the legislative processing of Bills, which can improve crime-fighting and earn appropriations-in-aid for the ministry.

The ministry has been promising to introduce the DNA Evidence Bill for several years, but had been delayed by the drafting process.

The Bill provides for the taking of DNA material from suspects, convicted offenders, volunteers and other persons, and to use the DNA as an evidentiary tool in criminal cases, so as to enhance the capacity of law enforcement to combat and prevent serious crimes.

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