Essential DNA Evidence

The Essential DNA Evidence course is part of the Essential Short Course Series™ and is held over a period of two days.

This course has been custom designed for individuals working in the legal environment.

The current legal curriculums do not contain any training on the handling of DNA evidence in court. DNA evidence is however one of the most powerful tools that can be used in forensics. The complexity of DNA itself as well as the techniques and analyses performed are a big challenge for prosecutors, defense lawyers, presiding officers and judges. This course will assist the legal fraternity to gain an understanding of the use of DNA analysis in the courtroom. It will provide the necessary background to highlight the important aspects of DNA evidence. Case studies are discussed to illustrate different aspects of DNA evidence.

Course Programme

Introduction to DNA evidence

Principles of DNA

  • What is DNA?
  • Where is DNA found?
  • Variations in the human genome

DNA Profiling

  • Sources of DNA
  • Collection of evidence material
  • Presumptive testing
  • The entire process of DNA profiling

DNA analysis in rape cases

  • Mixtures
  • Workflow of DNA analysis in rape cases
  • Reporting of results

Paternity Testing

Interpretation of DNA evidence

  • Classification of evidence
  • Characteristics of evidence
  • DNA evidence vs other evidence
  • Meaning of a match
  • Mixtures
  • How to understand the report / affidavit

Factors influencing the interpretation of DNA evidence

Quality control and quality assurance

  • Validity and reliability of data
  • Accreditation
  • Validation
  • National and international standards
  • Contamination
  • Controls
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Proficiency testing
  • Audits

DNA databases

  • Types and uses of databases

Legal aspects

  • The affidavit
  • Discovery by the defence

Testimony and cross-examination of DNA expert witnesses

Limitations of DNA evidence

DNA evidence in the courtroom

This is a preliminary programme, and the sequence may change.

Comments of previous delegates on our Essential DNA Sequencing™ short courses:

“Eye- opening course, very interesting and helpful”

“Thank you for a course that was helpful in getting a legal mind to understand the science of DNA.”

“Very efficient and useful for a Legal Aid practitioner in the criminal field.”

“Very informative course. It is something that we need to face DNA in court.”

“Training material very useful and relevant in the preparation of trial + examination of experts.”

“Today I leave this workshop with confidence in how to deal with DNA experts.”

“Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us and help us to seek justice.”

“Excellent course, valuable material”

“The course is important and relevant to us attorneys particularly because we are not well conversant with science and some of terminology used.”

“A course worthy of being recommended to others, as there is much to be learnt from (it).”

“Very good course. Prepare me to cross-exam expert and also a better understanding of the terminology of DNA. Broaden my knowledge.”