Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 July 2008) . . Page.. 2743 ..
destruction of certain forensic materials in general versus identifying DNA information. The difference in this approach is due to the real and strong concerns of the community over protecting personal genetic information.
Forensic materials in general can include photos, casts, fingerprints, videos et cetera, which do not pose the same problems or concerns as genetic information does. There should be justifiable reasons for retaining genetic information belonging to a person. In the criminal law context, the retention of identifying DNA information is justified on the basis that it aids the capture of criminals for the protection of the community and the maintenance of public safety.
Retention of identifying DNA information becomes less justified when a suspect has not been charged with an offence over a period of a year or the suspect has been acquitted. The new amendments appreciate the unique issues surrounding genetic information and have retained the previous position requiring destruction of such information after one year, unless it can be retained for good reason and by an order of the court.
Turning to the issue of reasonable use of force, the bill does not change the pre-existing law that reasonable use of force may be used to carry out forensic procedures. Reasonable use of force is currently present in corresponding legislation of other jurisdictions, such as New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia. The bill only creates a requirement that a person must be informed that reasonable use of force may be used to carry out the forensic procedure so that the person is made fully aware of the issue. But I stress again: the bill does not change the pre-existing law that reasonable use of force may be used.
The explanatory note regarding the use of force was intended to, firstly, highlight the level of reasonable use of force that currently operates in the ACT; secondly, highlight that reasonable use of force may be limited by commissioner’s order No 3 and orders of the Chief Medical Officer from an enforcement point of view; and, thirdly, note that the limitations to reasonable use of force created by the current commissioner’s order No 3 and the current orders of the Chief Medical officer are relevant.
That, I hope, responds to those matters that Dr Foskey raised in the scrutiny report. I thank members for their support and commend the bill to the Assembly.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.12): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 1 to 9 circulated in my name together.