Relevance And Admission Of Dna In Litigation Matters Research Paper

1804 words - 8 pages

Your paper should include a discussion of the main factors that have to be taken into account in assessing the reliability or unreliability of obtaining and preserving of DNA evidence; the determining of the weight of such expert evidence and its impact on the right to a fair trial.

The right to a fair trial is guaranteed by the 1996 Constitution of South Africa. The right requires courts to adjudicate matters in manner that is procedurally and substantially fair. Procedural fairness entails compliance to the rules court regarding document filling, evidence admission, evidence collection and other procedure related rules as set by the court. Only when both substantial and procedural fairness is observed can an individual’s right to a fair trial be guaranteed. In the past years, they have been questions about DNA evidence use in the South African courts. These questions have mainly centred on the evaluation of DNA evidence in litigation and the reliability of obtaining and preserving of DNA evidence. In this essay, I’m therefore going to deal with the questions raised and provide ways in which the law can be improved when evaluating the relevance and admission of DNA in litigation matters.

Status of the Law.
The law regarding the admission of DNA evidence in court is governed by section 212 of the criminal procedure Act. The section has different categories which govern the different aspects in evidence admission at court. However, the most important sections are 212 (2) (4) (6) (8) (10) and (12). Subsection 2 of section of 212 of the act provides that if a question regarding whether a person told any officer any information or document. The officer in question shall produce an affidavit in which he denies getting any information. The affidavit in question shall be considered prima facie proof that such information was not supplied.212(4) asserts that if a fact is established by a form of skill in either biology, chemistry or using any scientific manner. The fact established shall be considered prima facie proof upon the individual who established that fact furnishes an affidavit with regards to the proceedings and how the fact was established.212(6) says that if the finding of or action taken in connection with anybody sample is material to the issue .The person who is acting for the state who found such sample shall upon producing an affidavit to the courts be considered to have provided primae facie proof that such sample was found.S212(8) deals with the receipt of the exhibits and also the delivery of the dispatch of the evidence by the deponent. Lastly S212(10)(12) deals with the admissibility of the evidence and allows for the courts through its discretion to call the individual who submitted the affidavit to answer questions regarding their findings.

Main challenges
The way DNA has been handled and admitted by the court as a form of evidence has come under heavy criticism. The criticism has mainly been directed at...

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