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Forde Needs to Comply With European Ruling On Forensic Science

25 October, 2011 - by Jennifer McCann

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has said the Justice Minister, David Forde, should place a focus on the European Court of Human Rights ruling in relation to forensic evidence.


This follows a debate in the Assembly today on the Forensic Science Agency.


Speaking today Ms McCann, a member of the Justice Committee said:


“There are concerns with regards to the performance of the Forensic Science Agency (FSA) in the North of Ireland.


“There have been, as a result of several high profile court cases, questions raised about the independence and the rigour of forensic science and forensic evidence locally.  These concerns have been articulated at length inside and outside the court by those most familiar with the cases.


“The standards which apply or the processes used by the FSA and the criminal justice system have been the subject of inspection, including a report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate.


“Sinn Féin also understands that the Forensic Science Agency and other agencies charged with gathering and examining evidence have continued to play a role even though they have lost, for periods, their scientific accreditation.


“This is where the focus of the Justice Minister should lie and this focus cannot be separated from proposals which the he is considering on DNA profiling and finger print samples.


“We have concerns about these issues and there is an immediate need for action to comply with the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the retention of forensic samples and DNA profiles.”

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