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Publication - Dr Michael Naughton

    The Right to Access DNA Testing by Alleged Innocent Victims of Wrongful Convictions in the UK?


    Naughton, M & Tan, G, 2010, ‘The Right to Access DNA Testing by Alleged Innocent Victims of Wrongful Convictions in the UK?’. International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 14(4)., pp. 326 - 345


    This article identifies two distinct cases of alleged wrongful conviction that were investigated by the University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP). In these cases the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the official body that deals with alleged miscarriages of justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has failed to utilise DNA testing that may exonerate the applicant.

    • In one case numerous crime scene exhibits exist yet there has been no DNA testing;
    • The other case has not been subjected to the full range of DNA tests that could be conducted to validate the applicant’s claim of factual innocence.

    The article is written in the context of the right, contained within the International Bill of Rights, to share the benefits of scientific advancements. It argues that access to official DNA testing for alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions is vital to determine the reliability of contested convictions in the UK. From this perspective, it can be argued that the CCRC denied the applicants in the cases cited the opportunity to prove their innocence.

    The article concludes that all attempts must be made to ensure the reliability of criminal convictions, in the interests of justice. In this context this means that convicted persons maintaining innocence must have access to the most appropriate and up-to-date DNA techniques that could help exonerate them if they are innocent and even lead to the conviction of the real perpetrators of the crimes that they were convicted of.

    Full details in the University publications repository