Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a double stranded molecule made up of two chains that bend around each other forming a double helix. DNA carries the genetic/ hereditary material that makes us all unique, unless you are an identical twin. DNA was first discovered in the 1860s by Swiss chemist Johann Friedrich Miescher. Johann was researching the vital components of white blood cells, which is part of our body’s immune system. To test the cells, he decided to collect bandages from a medical clinic nearby. Eventually as he was looking very closely, he noticed that when he added acid to a solution of those cells, a substance would separate from the solution. When examining the substance, it had different properties to those of other proteins that we was used to. He then called it ‘nuclein’, which is what we refer to it now as DNA. DNA was first used in a trial in the United Kingdom in 1983 to convict a man of the sexual assault and murder of two young women. In Canada DNA analysis was first used in Ottawa court in 1989.
I think that DNA evidence makes a defence lawyer’s case more difficult because the evidence is so overwhelming and they must then try to argue that the sample was contaminated or mixed up, for example. I feel that DNA evidence has made cases much less complex for prosecutors.
The statistics for the National DNA DataBank (NDDB) as of December 31st ,2018 shows that 54,513 investigations including murder, sexual assault, robbery (armed), assault, attempted murder and B&E were assisted with data from the NDDB. Based on this information, it is obvious that more cases have been resolved since its induction into the legal system.
I feel that one disadvantage of using DNA as evidence is that it becomes the only piece of evidence that gets taken in for account. DNA evidence is a science and therefore there is a margin for error, especially if the DNA sample gets contaminated.
Personally, i agree that all criminals convicted should be required to submit their DNA to a database. The process of deciding between major and minor offences and all of the the criteria involved would be extremely complicated and the potential to miss some people would exist. It is also my opinion that, once convicted of a crime, you lose some of your rights to privacy. If you made a mistake for which you were given a criminal conviction but plan to live the rest of your life as a law-abiding citizen, then it shouldn't be a concern that your DNA is contained in a national database.
Although DNA evidence can present a strong case, I do not believe that any judge or jury would convict a person solely on one piece of evidence without hearing and considering all of the other facts of the case.