Developments in DNA

Panelist: Dr Marcus Smith, Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University

Title: Biometrics, Security and Crime: New forms of DNA identification

Dr Marcus Smith

Dr Marcus Smith

Abstract: DNA evidence is a method of biometric identification that has made a significant contribution to criminal investigations in Australia and around the world through the direct matching of DNA profiles obtained from crime scenes, suspects and databases. There have been some significant developments in the science and technology behind DNA evidence over the past 10 years that have important implications for law enforcement and the legal system. New forms of DNA identification continue to be developed and applied to enhance criminal investigations. These extend beyond the traditional technique of matching DNA profiles. The new forms of DNA identification that will be discussed include familial searching, DNA phenotyping and mtDNA profiling. These are discussed through a review of relevant legal cases relating to DNA evidence in criminal trials where they have been applied. Implications for policy and practice are discussed, focusing on the balance between individual rights and the importance of applying new technology to investigate and prosecute serious crimes.

Biography: Dr Marcus Smith is Senior Lecturer in Law at the Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Canberra. He holds a PhD in law from the Australian National University.