DNA Profiling and the Law in South Africa
De Wet, S
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DNA evidence is currently at the forefront of the arsenal of evidence employed in criminal trials. To ensure its optimum use in criminal proceedings, it is imperative that the legal fraternity is properly conversant with the scientific basis and presentation of such evidence, as well as with its potential pitfalls. In an effort to provide the legal profession with a background to this complex and useful type of evidence, this article looks at the biochemical nature of DNA, at DNA profiling and its use in criminal trials, and at the processes of DNA collection and analysis in the Biology Unit of the Forensic Science Laboratory of the South African Police Service. The presentation of DNA evidence in court is then evaluated and the future of DNA evidence, including legislative reform, and the creation of a DNA database are discussed.