Friday, July 27, 2012

Have DNA Databases produced false convictions? The Double Helix Law Blog; (Must Read; HL).

About a year ago, I asked whether any false convictions have resulted from DNA database searches. [1] Of course, if there are any, they might be hard to find, but there is a known recent case of a false initial accusation. It came about because a laboratory contaminated a crime-scene sample with DNA from an whose DNA was on file from other cases. In March 2012, a private firm in England re-used a "plastic tray[] as part of the robotic DNA extraction process." [2] The tray, which should have been disposed of, apparently contained some DNA from Adam Scott, a young man from Exeter, in Devon. [3] This DNA contaminated the sample from the clothing of a woman who had been raped in a park in Manchester. Police charged Scott, who claimed he had never been to Manchester, with the rape. After detectives realized that Scott "was in prison 300 miles away, awaiting trial on other unrelated offences" at the time of the rape, the charges were dropped. [3] An audit and investigation of 26,000 other samples analyzed after the robotic system had been introduced, uncovered no other instances of contamination. Steps intended to prevent a repetition of the error have been implemented. ......Other errors in handling samples have been documented........."

The entire post can be found at:


I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.