Dealing with Dna Evidence: A Legal Guide / Edition 1

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Giving the reader an in-depth understanding of DNA evidence in criminal practice, this text explains in clear language how DNA evidence is obtained and how it can be successfully challenged in court to minimize its impact or even dismiss it completely.

Since it first entered the criminal legal practice DNA has become an indispensable tool in fighting crime, as it allows both unambiguous identification of the criminal by traces of biological material left at the crime scene as well as acquitting innocent suspects.

This book:

  • outlines the various types of testing used to obtain DNA evidence
  • highlights the weaknesses of DNA testing, presenting and discussing defence strategies for refuting DNA evidence
  • shows how DNA should be treated as just another piece of evidence and how on its own it is often not enough to convict someone of a particular crime.

This book is essential reading for students and practitioners of criminal law and practice and forensic science and law.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'... a unique sourcebook for twenty-first century advocacy which no professional criminal justice manager should be without today.' - Phillip Taylor MBE, Richmond Green Chambers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845680497
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrei Semikhodskii is Director of Medical Genomics Ltd.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to Criminal DNA Analysis. Forensic DNA Testing. Interpretation and Statistical Evaluation of DNA Evidence. Criminal DNA Databases. Pitfalls of DNA Testing. DNA Testing Errors. DNA Evidence Interpretation Errors. DNA Evidence During Trial. Challenging DNA Evidence in the Courtroom. Post-Convictional DNA Testing. Ethical Aspects of DNA Testing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008


    'Semikhodskii on DNA' as it will surely become is the first publication to look seriously at how to handle DNA evidence. We do really need this book as the law of evidence is becoming one vast DNA test in many fields where the defence insists on challenging basic factual statements (on instructions from the client, of course). The questions really are ¿ what use is this book and does it help me with my work? The answer to both questions is a resounding `yes¿. DNA is now the indispensable weapon in the fight against crime because it allows both the unambiguous identification of the defendant from traces of biological material left at the scene of a crime, whilst acquitting the innocent. In plain English, `Dealing with DNA Evidence¿ states how DNA evidence is actually obtained ¿ something many of us are totally unfamiliar with. Semikhodskii describes the various types of DNA test which are available and what the weaknesses of DNA testing are. For the benefit of both the judiciary and the defence, the author explains how DNA evidence can successfully be challenged in the courts so that the impact of such evidence can be minimised, or even dismissed completely. The defence advocate is given even greater assistance with strategies for refuting DNA evidence when presented and discussed during any stage of the criminal justice process. However, readers should note that the emphasis is squarely placed on DNA evidence so that it can be treated as just another piece of evidence which, of its own volition, would be insufficient to convict the defendant of a particular offence. Who should bother reading this book? Most students I remember from my Bar Vocational Course would run a mile rather than read something like this book. However, the book must be essential reading for students and practitioners of criminal law and practice, for forensic science and law, and for all practitioners within criminal justice management at whatever level because it is a unique sourcebook for twenty-first century advocacy which no professional criminal justice manager should be without today. Whilst the cases, statutes and regulations are relatively sparse for detail, I came away with the impression that `Dealing with DNA Evidence¿ presents a fair balance of the tasks confronting advocates in this new frontier of proof. I always remember hearing a devastating question posed by the great Norman Birkett KC when he asked a hapless witness (allegedly expert) ¿what is the co-efficient of the expansion of brass?¿ This expert didn¿t know ¿ round one to Birkett, even if the question was a bit unfair, and possibly irrelevant. What Semikhodskii goes on to say is that when an advocate is faced with scientific evidence, he ¿has to understand it and the prosecution scientist who presents it, as well as the scientist who is working for the defence team¿. Counsel will know that their defence job is to highlight the drawbacks of the prosecution analysis presented to a jury and also have the ability to question experts about the subtleties of their supposed scientific expertise. It is right to say that such questioning is undoubtedly true for DNA evi scientifically demanding types of evidence available to the Crown. There are eleven chapters in the book covering the following detailed areas of DNA law: An introduction to Criminal DNA Analysis Forensic DNA Testing Interpretation and Statistical Evaluation of DNA Evidence Criminal DNA Databases Pitfalls of DNA Testing DNA Testing Errors DNA Evidence Interpretation Errors DNA Evidence During Trial Challenging DNA Evidence in the Courtroom Post-Convictional DNA Testing and Ethical Aspects of DNA Testing. The book concludes with a detailed set of references and a splendid glossary which I feel any person involved in the criminal justice process will find extremely useful. Readers will find the index detailed and content-heavy which really sums up the subject matter nicely for the subject is technical. THE BALANCED DNA

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