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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 17:52 GMT
Police resume use of DNA method
Computer model of DNA structure
DNA can provide vital evidence in a court case
Police forces in England and Wales are to resume using Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA testing techniques.

The method, which takes evidence from a tiny DNA sample, was suspended after the judge in the Omagh bombing trial voiced concerns over its validity.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said its review of relevant cases had not discovered "any current problems" with the technique.

LCN DNA is typically used when crime scene DNA samples are extremely small.

Such samples might be obtained from a person's contact with a surface rather than a bloodstain, for example.

The CPS has not seen anything to suggest that any current problems exist with LCN
Crown Prosecution Service

This particular form of analysis is offered by the Forensic Science Service (FSS), while other low template DNA profiling services are offered by other forensic science providers in the UK.

Omagh suspect Sean Hoey was cleared of a total of 58 charges, including 29 murders, and the judge in his trial expressed concern over the LCN DNA analysis.

As a result police in England and Wales suspended the use of the technique.

The CPS also began a review of live prosecutions in England and Wales using LCN DNA testing.

Northern Ireland's Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde, also instigated an immediate review of cases there but a conclusion is still awaited.

The CPS carried out its "precautionary internal review" of current cases involving the FSS use of LCN analysis between 21 December and 14 January.

Individual cases

A statement issued by the CPS said that following the review, it has "not seen anything to suggest that any current problems exist with LCN.

"Accordingly we conclude that LCN DNA analysis provided by the FSS should remain available as potentially admissible evidence.

"Of course, the strength and weight such evidence is given in any individual case remains a matter to be considered, presented, and tested in the light of all the other evidence."

"The CPS will continue to work closely with the Forensic Science Regulator in preparing guidance to its prosecutors about the issues that should be considered when Low Template DNA analysis from any provider is potential prosecution evidence."

Verdict raises DNA evidence doubt
20 Dec 07 |  Northern Ireland
Murder case on hold over DNA test
07 Jan 08 |  Northern Ireland

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