Canadian Law on DNA

In 1998, on December, 10 the DNA Identification Act was announced publicly in Canada. But the official recognition of this act came only on June, 30, 2000.[1] This recognition made it possible to create a national Canadian DNA data bank, and as a result of it the Criminal Code went through some corrections in order to develop a special mechanism for a judge to order the accused people to give their blood, or other substances samples from which it is possible to get a DNA profile. To tell honestly this was the method people who deal with crimes and jurisdiction were searching for so many centuries. This investigation really decided a lot of problems. It saved a lot of innocent people who were sentenced to death, lots of dangerous offenders were charged with the crimes they committed, many people could find and return their relatives; new law-breakings were predicted and prevented, the judicial system was taken in order, international support was strengthened, the process of finding guilty was quickened, the peaceful life of the citizens was stabilized.

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Help With Essay On Canadian law

There are lots of things that are now possible due to the innovative method of DNA method. But still a lot of unsatisfied people appeared. Mostly these are young people and their relatives who believe that their privacy is now under the doubt; the personal information can be easily spread over the world and used for some obscure reasons.

There lots of againsts, lots of fors. So let’s start with the very beginning.

What is DNA?

DNA is a deoxyribononucleic acid that is a unique molecule, having a special form – it is long, double-stranded cell which looks like a twisted thread that reminds a complex composition of two equal helixes. Deoxyribononucleic acid is a basic material for creating the person’s gene pool. When a person is being conceived the information from his mother’s ovule unites with the information from his father’s spermatozoon. That’s why DNA can specify one’s parents and even relatives, but of course it is unique for each person. The only exception is for twins, who have the same set of DNAs, that’s why it is quite hard to distinguish them.[2]

How it is used to determine a criminal?

So why has it become so popular in the process of investigations? DNA can be identified from some drops of blood, one hair, piece of nail, a couple of cells, a tear drop, saliva, an eyelash, a piece of clothes, a piece of skin, sperm, and whatever. As you can see the biological sample can be minimal. The process of recognition is the following. If this sample is the same as from the convicted it points to his involvement into the crime. If it is not, then a person is innocent. Moreover, this small molecule can survive through different weather conditions, it steadfastly reacts on the sequence of time, and it can be collected from any surface and saved for as much time as necessary, which is also quite important.

What is the advantage over the fingerprints?

It is quite a well-known method to compare the fingerprints left on the place of crime with the fingerprints of the accused! And of course this has been a very sufficient method for many-many years. But the criminals, especially nowadays, are becoming more and more mature. They watch films, are acquainted with the trial processing and the collecting of the proofs, and so as a rule they are used to work in gloves or not to touch anything if it is possible, in other words to leave as little evidences of their presence as possible. So it’s sometimes turns to be really hard to affirm or even to find something accusing. But the biological samples will definitely remain. As they just can’t de hidden or foreseen. This is quite natural to swear for example and so on. Besides, the amount of the substances left should not necessarily be noticeable for the human eye. The microscope and other equipment will definitely find the smallest amount of people’s DNA. [3]

What is a DNA data bank?

The DNA data bank is an official organization which collects and preserves people’s DNA samples in order to give it to the court on the demand of the judges. But this is something we should pay attention to. According to the legislation, the samples of people’s DNAs can be used only in solving crime cases, and be given only on demand of a judge. Unfortunately, there are cases when this regulation is not obeyed. Of course it courses then scandals, protest and unwillingness to fulfill this regulation.

During the last decade the bank has been developing. And if for example some ten years ago the process of distinguishing the DNA was quite long (it could take a year) and demanded really sufficient sum of money, now it is easier to decide such a problem. It takes from 2 days to a couple of month to find out the owner of the definite DNA and to compare the given samples; and it costs about 250 dollars per person. still it is a great sum of money if to consider that such kind of investigation is becoming more and more popular, and it is becoming the most simple and necessary way to investigate a crime. It cost 10,6 million dollars to create this bank, and annually about 2,5 million dollars are spent. The officials believe this figure is going to grow up to 5 million dollars. So, there are still a lot of things to decide. And it is not strictly explained in the law who is responsible for carrying out a research and who is to pay for the procedure. So there are cases when it causes problems.

On the other hand, we also shouldn’t forget that even the equality of the samples is not the proof for the charging. There are so many other things to prove. Jurisdiction is a very strict and ordered system. One proof is not usually enough.[4] Besides, some sample can be contaminated, and as a result a new problem rises. It can become dangerous for the people dealing with this example, i.e. judges, laboratory workers, accused, victims, investigators etc.

Such an investigation is sometimes not able to return a person to life; it can just purify his/her reputation. And the problems it may bring to the people alive can become fatal.

The other drawback is the delay of results which also can become tragic.[5]

Still, to support such a method it would be fair to say that it helps solve not only murder or assault cases, but it is mostly useв to find robbers, burglars and to solve minor cases, which is really actual nowadays.

Why youth is suffering from DNA investigations?

According to the gossips and definite steps of the government, the newly born children are to give the samples of their blood to the national DNA bank. As you understand it is done just on the spot in order to make the full collection of citizens’ DNAs. A lot of people believe this is not right. Hardly had a baby stepped out of the womb, he is at the same moment falls under suspicion. It is one point of view. And that is the other. At the moment it is not necessarily done. That’s why some accused children and young people are obliged to give their DNAs during the trial. It turns to be quite humiliating, causes stress and prostration, which can be dangerous for children’s health and unstable characters.

To prevent different complaints a special order was given to charge young people in another way than grown-ups. Some indulgences were made.[6] The separate criminal justice system is acting. [7]

So, as you see the points of view are different. But if to believe the Canadian minister of justice: “I believe the reforms that we have introduced will further increase the efficiency of the system. And we will not stop here. My government will work to make further improvements in DNA legislation – improvements designed to enlist DNA technology even more effectively in the battle against crime and criminals.

References:

  1. The national DNA data bank website
  2. Charter rights of children and youth
  3. U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child
  4. Youth Criminal Justice Act
  5. Speech for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Vic Toews, Q.C. Homicide Investigators Conference Winnipeg , Manitoba 11 June 2006
  6. Criminal Code
  7. Marina Hyde, Saturday November 4, 2006, The Guardian


[1] THE NATIONAL DNA DATA BANK WEBSITE

[3] Dean Hildebrand, a forensics DNA expert with the forensics department at the B.C. Institute of Technology

[4] Chris Asplen, executive director on the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence

[5] For example a “Scarborough rapist” case (sex-killer Paul Bernardo)

[6] Charter rights of children and youth

[7] U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Youth Criminal Justice Act, Criminal Code

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