Terms of Reference released for Commission of Inquiry into DNA Testing in Queensland

Published Friday, 10 June, 2022 at 02:50 PM

Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has welcomed the release of Terms of Reference for the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland DNA Testing.

The Inquiry, headed by former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Walter Sofronoff, will report by December 13, 2022.

An interim report will be at the discretion of the Commissioner.

The Commission will examine:

  • whether the methods, systems and processes used by the Queensland Police Service, and the Forensic and Scientific Services for forensic Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) collection, testing and analysis are, and have been, reliable, conducted in accordance with best international practice, and result in, and have resulted in, accurate reporting of the presence of DNA in samples submitted for testing and accurate matching of DNA samples; and
  • whether, if such methods, systems or processes are not, or have not been, reliable, or conducted in accordance with best international practice, or do not result, or have not resulted, in accurate reporting or accurate matching, the reasons for any such failure

The Premier said what cases the Commission examines is up to the Commissioner.

“Serious issues have been raised,” the Premier said.

“The people of this State must have confidence in the reliability of results from the lab.”

The Premier again paid tribute to the family of 23 year old Shandee Blackburn who was brutally murdered in Mackay in 2013. 

The family raised their concerns which have been echoed by the Queensland Police Service.

“Nothing short of a full, open and rigorous Commission of Inquiry can restore confidence in DNA testing in this state,” the Premier said.

“Justice Walter Sofronoff is a retired judge and  well respected member of our legal system.

“He will leave no stone unturned.

“I look forward to the results of his inquiry.”