Push for double jeopardy laws after Queensland DNA lab debacle

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It was revealed this week that the lab has routinely failed to test samples below a certain threshold for the past four years.

The report stated that ten percent of untested samples could have conclusive DNA results.

Stock image of DNA testing (Getty)
Many samples in the Queensland crime lab were never tested for DNA. (Getty)

Labor MP Jonty Bush wrote a lengthy Facebook post expressing her outrage at the report.

“One of the only irrefutable pieces of information available in homicide cases is the presence of DNA evidence,” she wrote.

“It is unlikely that these findings have led to wrongful convictions, but I am sure that these findings have led to cases being dismissed and, tragically, some violent offenders have been acquitted.”

Bush has called for action under the state’s double jeopardy laws.

“I am not aware of a case that has been retried under this legislation,” she said.

“But if there was ever a case to consider this legislation, it is now.”

Robotic DNA assembly line where components for the coronavirus vaccine will be assembled.
Many DNA samples were never tested. (Paul Harris)

Criminal defense attorney Bill Potts explained the double jeopardy law.

“It basically means people can’t be tried twice for the same offense unless there’s something absolutely overwhelming in the way of new evidence,” he told 9News.

“The problem in this particular case is that the prosecution has always had the evidence in their own hands, it seems. They just haven’t tested it.”

The LNP opposition has already called for Health Minister Yvette D’Ath to be sacked.

“This is a complete failure for the government and a complete failure for Yvette D’Ath,” said Deputy Opposition Leader Jarrod Bleijie.

The final report on the DNA lab failures will not be released until closer to the end of the year.

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