Criminal Law Amendment Bill (2013) approved

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pretoria – Cabinet has approved the introduction of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, 2013, to Parliament.

According to a Cabinet statement issued on Friday by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), the Bill paves the way to regulate and promote the use of DNA in combatting crime, taking into account constitutional requirements.

“The use of DNA evidence holds the potential to alleviate blockages in the criminal justice system. Maximising the use of DNA evidence promotes fairness, confidence, and certainty in the administration of our laws,” according to the statement.

The Bill ensures that the rights to privacy of persons in the taking and storage of DNA samples are not violated. 

The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, 2009, was introduced in Parliament following the recommendation of the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR).

The said Bill dealt with issues of enhancing the use of fingerprints by having interdepartmental cooperation to link different fingerprint databases for purposes of crime investigation. This Bill also provided for the establishment of a DNA database.

The Portfolio Committee on Police decided to only deal with the fingerprint part of the Bill and wanted comparative research to be done before dealing with the DNA issues.

The DNA part of the Bill was then referred back to the Minister of Police.

The Bill was drafted and aligned to common practices overseas following a study abroad by the Portfolio Committee on Police, SAPS and members of the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser. –