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Criminal Law
CPD Points:
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Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority:
Listen and pass the quiz: Gain 1 CPD point (60 minutes)
Listen only, gain ½ a CPD point (30 minutes)

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board:
Listen and pass the quiz: Gain 1 accredited CPD point (60 minutes)

Regulated by ILEX:
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Listen only, gain ½ a CPD point (30 minutes)

  • FREE
30 minutes of audio
(+ optional 5 minute online quiz)
Plays on Computer:
Yes Downloadable as MP3:    Yes
Course Aims:

This CPDcast aims to provide an overview of the history of the admission of DNA evidence into criminal trials and explains the difficulties that the complexity of the science and the probabilities with which it is presented have caused for the criminal process.

After completing the course you will:
  • Understand the incorrect conclusions that are reached when DNA is used in a case;
  • Appreciate the important role that DNA plays in criminal trials;
  • Understand the difficulties of explaining the implications of DNA evidence to juries;
  • Know the particular characteristics attached to DNA analysis that has made its introduction into the criminal justice process a contentious one;
  • Understand the issues surrounding Low Template DNA or Low Copy Number DNA;
  • Know the the current state of the law as to the admissibility of the Low Copy Number technique;
  • Understand the role of DNA evidence in the Omagh Bombing case;
  • Know the facts of the case concerning Reed and Garmson;
  • Understand the consequences on LCN analysis as a result of the Reed and Garmson case;
  • Appreciate the use of probablistic theory to interpret the scientific conclusions;
  • Understand the the issues surrounding the cases of Barry George and Sally Clark.
Intermediate Difficulty: 3 of 5
Sources and References:
  • The Queen v Sean Hoey [2007] NICC 49;
  • R v Reed, R v Garmson [2009] EWCA Crim 2698;
  • R v Sally Clark [2003] EWCA Crim 1020;
  • R v Barry George, 1st August 2008.

In this CPDcast David Jeremy QC, a barrister at QEB Hollis Whiteman, discusses the admissibility of DNA into criminal trials and the problematic elements that stem from it. He charts the struggle for acceptance of the LCN technique through the Omagh bombing case to the recent Cout of Appeal judgment in the case of Reed and Garmson. He also explains the deceptive difficulties surrounding probability theory and illustrates the problems of presenting statistical evidence generally through high profile cases such as that of the solicitor Sally Clark and Barry George, the man charged with the murder of Jill Dando. He concludes with some tentative thoughts on the controversial suggestion that DNA evidence has become so complicated 'DNA cases' should be tried by specialist tribunals.

Podcast last reviewed: 2012-02-27

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