Police reopen 7,000 cases after DNA error
Thu Aug 7, 2008
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australian police will re-examine 7,000 crimes solved through DNA evidence after a mistake forced detectives to free a suspect wrongly accused of murder.
Police in the southern city of Melbourne withdrew charges against Russell John Gesah, accused in July of the 1984 murders of a 35-year-old mother and her nine-year-old daughter .
Gesah was arrested and faced court, but a later check found the DNA evidence used against him was taken elsewhere and mistakenly tested with samples from the Tapp murder scene
Comment by F4L: There was apparently no DNA error. The problem was that the police supplied wrong DNA samples for testing in an attempt to convict the wrong man. The article is silent on whether that happened by accident or by design. It seems that the public is entitled to learn which of the two reasons applied, why and how.
It is possible that to have DNA samples tested by two independent labs would have helped to refute the original allegation. In fact, that seems to be what happened in this case, although the article is silent, too, on how it happened that the mix-up occurred or why and how the error was discovered.
At any rate, the police sought to have Russell John Gesah convicted on the strength of evidence that they supplied but that did not originate from Russell John Gesah.
There have been many cases where man-hating staff in DNA-testing labs falsified DNA test results to bring falsely accused men to justice.
The only way that can be prevented is to have failsafe sampling and testing procedures that cannot be corrupted. Nothing like that is 100 percent safe, obviously not, even though it should justifiably be expected that such incorruptible procedures do exist.
To have two independent DNA testing labs take and test samples will most likely provide far greater assurances of DNA-testing accuracy than anything else will.
Any man alleged to be the perpetrator of the crime of wanting to be a father of a given child (even in so-called stable, monogamous relationships) and about to be sentenced to provide for that child, or even any a man accused of a more serious sex crime, should make sure that the DNA tests used to convict him are done by two independent DNA-testing labs.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of the review of the 7,000 cases of DNA tests that were used to put many men into prison in Australia. Lets hope that the results of that review will become public knowledge and that someone will make certain that happens.