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    DNA Evidence Mistake Forces Australian Police to Re-open 7,000 Cases

    A variety of sources are reporting on a case in Australia where: 

    Victoria Police force will re-examine 7000 crimes solved through DNA after it was forced to drop murder charges based on contaminated evidence.

    Charges were yesterday withdrawn against Russell John Gesah who was last month accused of the 1984 murders of Ferntree Gully woman Margaret Tapp, 35, and her nine-year-old daughter Seana.

    Every crime solved by DNA in Victoria in the 20 years since the technology was introduced would be reviewed, Deputy Commissioner Simon Overland said.

    This story follows a revelation by the UK Daily Telegraph that “[m]illions of profiles on the national DNA database have been handed over secretly to private companies without the consent of those involved”; recent coverage by the Los Angeles Times on questions surrounding the reliability of DNA evidence; and last year’s news concerning the mishandling of DNA evidence in the Massachusetts State Police crime laboratory. These cases make clear that there needs to be more transparency and oversight of the collection, testing and retention of DNA data. 

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