Senate passes DNA Evidence Act

Friday, December 11, 2015

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Upper House passed the DNA Evidence Act with 25 ammendments on Friday, after suspending the debate at committee yesterday evening.

The legislation makes it compulsory for the police to take DNA samples from suspects as well as convicts, and establishes procedures for the collection, keeping and preservation of such samples, as well as how they are to be disposed of.

The bill sets out the various offences and penalties for breaches of the Act and for the establishment and operating of a consolidated forensic DNA databank — the National DNA Register — which will be integral to investigations and identification of people connected with crimes.

The Government says the DNA Bill, along with other major pieces of legislation that have been passed, such as the anti-lottery scam bill, and the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisation 2014) Act or anti-gang legislation, should significantly help law enforcement in the fight against crime.

Prior to the passage of the bill, Senate President Floyd Morris commended colleague senators for the tone of yesterday's deliberations on the bill.

In recent weeks, the Senate has been embroiled in controversy with tensions running high between the Government and Opposition over differing views on establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice as Jamaica's highest appellate court.
Alphea Saunders

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