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Performing head of Queensland forensics lab says she had no expertise in DNA profiling, didn’t perceive ‘pressing’ police issues


Queensland Well being’s performing director of Forensic and Scientific Companies admitted throughout an investigation she didn’t perceive police “pressing” issues about DNA testing of huge crime scene samples after they got to her on the finish of final yr.

Lara Keller instructed Walter Sofronoff KC, who’s main the investigation into forensic DNA testing in Queensland, that though she is a scientist, she has no expertise in DNA profiling.

She mentioned she first grew to become conscious of issues with DNA testing of huge crime scene samples final December when she was copied into an e-mail chain between managing scientist Cathie Allen and police detectives. near David Neville.

However she instructed Mr Sofronoff that at that stage she didn’t search to tell herself of the issues or how they arose, having been on the job for lower than three months on the time.

Ms Keller mentioned: “I hope that Cathie will tackle these issues on behalf of the crew.

Requested by Mr Sofronoff how she might handle “if you do not have satisfactory data of the topic”, Ms Keller mentioned her position is just not that of an knowledgeable in numerous fields. carried out on the Forensic and Scientific Companies (FSS).

“I do not assume there’s one particular person like that who may be an knowledgeable in each facet of the FSS,” she mentioned.

“My position is to not be that science knowledgeable as a result of I’ve a crew on the FSS who present me with that recommendation.

“I see my position as overarching the administration of the campus so that is what I believe I’ve carried out.”

The front sign of the Queensland Forensic and Science Laboratory (QHFSS)
On December 16, Ms. Allen emailed Inspector Neville, pledging to “evaluation the accessible scientific information”.(ABC Information: Michael Lloyd )

An interim report by Mr Sofronoff revealed final month discovered that between early 2018 and June of this yr, laboratory scientists made “unfaithful” or “unfaithful” witness statements or “deceptive” in regards to the detection of DNA in some crime scene samples.

Mr Sofronoff discovered that underneath an settlement between Queensland Well being and the Queensland Police Service, crime scene samples that didn’t comprise quantities of DNA above a sure threshold wouldn’t be additional processed and reported in witness testimony. is “no DNA recorded” or has “inadequate DNA for additional processing”.

That is regardless of the potential for an “explainable report,” he mentioned.

COVID results in gradual evaluation progress

In the present day’s investigation revealed an e-mail from Inspector Neville to Ms Allen in early December elevating issues in regards to the threshold for additional processing and asking for “additional testing to ensure we’re maximizing alternatives to unravel crimes, particularly for main crime issues”.

Inspector Neville mentioned the police evaluation discovered 51 of the 160 samples, which had been initially reported as not having sufficient DNA for additional testing, offered data when requested for additional processing.

On December 16, Ms. Allen emailed Inspector Neville, pledging to “evaluation the accessible scientific information”.


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