Forensic Procedures used and permitted in South Australia
In this section, information can be found regarding forensic material for identifying a person. It also outlines procedures for the purpose of obtaining evidence against a person who has been identified as a suspect.
What is a forensic procedure?
A “Forensic Procedure” means a procedure carried out by or on behalf of South Australia Police or a law enforcement authority. It may consist of any of the following:
- Prints of the hands, fingers, feet or toes;
- An examination of a part of a person’s body (but not an examination that can be conducted without disturbing the person’s clothing and without physical contact with the person);
- Taking of a sample of biological or other material from a person’s body (but not the taking of a detached hair from the person’s clothing); or
- Taking of an impression or cast of a part of a person’s body;
What are the types of Forensic Procedures?
There are two categories for forensic procedures: Suspects Procedure and Offenders Procedure.
A Suspects Procedures are for those who have been suspected of committing a serious offence and an Offenders Procedure are for those who have been convicted of an offence.
When may a forensic procedure be carried out?
A suspects procedure can be carried out on a person who has been suspected of committing a serious offence (this includes major indictable offences and also smaller summary offences). This type of procedure may consist of a simple forensic procedure.
A simple forensic procedure means a forensic procedure consisting of any of the following:
- A simple identity procedure (which includes the taking of prints of the hand or fingers of a person or the taking of forensic material from a person via buccal swab or finger-prick for obtaining DNA);
- A gun shot residue procedure (taking samples by swab or similar means of the hands and fingers to determine the presence of gun-shot residue);
- A forensic procedureprescribed by the regulations.
A forensic procedure may be carried out on a person whether or not the person is in custody.
A simple identity procedure can be carried out on a person and classified as an “Offender Procedure” if the person is either:
- serving a term of imprisonment, detention or home detention in relation to an offence;
- detained under part 8A Criminal Law Consolidation Act in relation to an offence; or
- convicted of a serious offence;
- declared liable for supervision under part 8A Criminal Law Consolidation Act in relation to a serious charge; or
- a registrable offender under the Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006.
Who may carry out a forensic procedure?
A member of the Police force may carry out a forensic procedure on you.
Application for Forensic Procedure
A Police Officer may make an Application for an order authorising a forensic procedure to be carried out on you. If an Application is made, there is to be a hearing and an order handed down by a Senior Police Officer. Importantly, the Application must be drafted in accordance with the requirements of law. If the Application does not adhere to these requirements, the Application may be void.
If an Application has been made against you, it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer immediately and ask to be represented. A good lawyer may be able to challenge the Application and avoid you having to undergo a forensic procedure.
Nevertheless, for a forensic procedure to be carried out on you, the Senior Police Officer must be satisfied of the following thresholds:
- there are reasonable grounds to suspect that you have committed a serious offence; and
- there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the forensic procedurecould produce material of value to the investigation of the offence; and
- it is in the interests of the public to allow the forensic procedure to go ahead.
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