This week the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Western Australia revealed that a DNA scientist employed by PathWest breached testing protocols over a number of years, and has now been fired from his position. PathWest, which is the pathology centre run by the State Government and is involved in forensic testing for criminal matters, advised the DPP this week that they had found the senior DNA analyst to be guilty of four serious charges in unethical behaviours, in failing to have DNA results verified by their required protocols.
The revelation has caused a stir in the legal community, and it’s likely that a series of appeals will ensue from anyone convicted on the basis of DNA evidence provided by this analyst, and possibly others.
Australian Lawyers Alliance president Tom Percy has suggested that anyone who was involved in a case that turned on DNA evidence should contact their lawyer to have the matter reviewed.
Time will tell how many cases will need to be re-examined, but no doubt this will be a topic of much debate in the coming weeks.