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Criminal Law
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  • FREE
30 minutes of audio
(+ optional 5 minute online quiz)
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Course Aims:

The admissibility of DNA evidence is a topical subject which is rarely out of the news. We recently saw Gary Dobson and David Norris convicted after a “cold case review” of the Stephen Lawrence murder unearthed microscopic fragments of previously undiscovered DNA evidence linking them to the crime. But we need only look to the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito after the reliability of DNA evidence was successfully challenged to know that DNA evidence must be approached with caution. In this podcast Felicity will therefore help to explain the rules surrounding DNA evidence, the role it can play in criminal trials and how practitioners ought to be presenting such evidence to the jury.

After completing the course you will:
  • Have gained a basic understanding of what DNA and DNA evidence is;
  • Know how samples of DNA are obtained;
  • Appreciate when DNA evidence will be admissible;
  • Understand the difference between full, partial, mixed and low DNA samples;
  • Understand whether there is a minimum limit on the amount of admissible DNA;
  • Understand what safeguards exist when DNA evidence is admitted.
Specialist Difficulty: 5 of 5
Legal Principles
Practical Guide
Sources and References:
  • R v Alan James Doheny [1997] 1 Cr App R 369;
  • R v Ashley Kieron Thomas [2011] EWCA Crim 1295;
  • R v Bates 2006 EWCA Crim 1315;
  • R v Buckley 163 JP 651;
  • R v Cannings [2004] 2 Cr App R 7;
  • R v David Reed and Terrence Reed; R v Neil Garmson [2009] EWCA Crim 2698;
  • R v Ishaq (Leicester Crown Court) January 2010;
  • R v Steven James Hookway and Gavin Noakes [2011] EWCA Crim 1989;
  • S and Marper v UK (Application Nos. 30562/04 and 30566/04).

In this CPDcast Felicity Gerry, a barrister at 36 Bedford and co-author of the Sexual Offences Handbook: Law, Practice and Procedure, discusses the rules surrounding the admissibility of DNA evidence.

Date recorded: 6th February 2012

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