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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 759..


Prisoners-DNA testing

(Question No 64)

Mr Cornwell asked the Minister the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections, upon notice, on 19 February 2002:

In relation to DNA testing of prisoners:

Why have no ACT prisoners been DNA tested under the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act which allows for compulsory testing of inmates?

Mr Quinlan: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

Although the ACT Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 allows for the DNA testing of persons convicted of a "serious offence" who are detained in prison, at present ACT prisoners are imprisoned in New South Wales. It is not lawful to take a DNA sample from an ACT prisoner serving a sentence in New South Wales unless NSW law permits that sample to be taken. The fact that the ACT Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 permits the DNA testing of ACT serious offenders is not a sufficient legal basis for such testing, as the ACT does not have legislative power to make laws which bind New South Wales.

Before the testing of ACT prisoners in New South Wales prisoners can become lawful in New South Wales, it will be necessary for that State to make regulations under the New South Wales Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000, to recognise that the ACT Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 is a "corresponding law". Once those regulations are made, the New South Wales police will be authorised to carry out DNA tests on ACT serious offenders.

The New South Wales government indicated last year that it intends to make such regulations. To date, the ACT has not been informed of the making of the regulations. Testing of ACT prisoners serving time in New South Wales prisons will not be lawful until the proposed New South Wales regulations have been made.


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