Forensic Biology Department Review To Be Conducted On Past 15 Years Results

Forensic Biology Department Review To Be Conducted On Past 15 Years Results

Western Australia Minister for Health Roger Cook

PathWest Review Will Look Back 15 Years

Victor P Taffa

  • Terms of reference for Public Sector Commission (PSC) review announced today
  • Recommendations for improvements to governance and management expected 

Public Sector Commission’s review into the Forensic Biology Department of PathWest will examine a random sample of results issued between 2002 and 2017 to ensure compliance with protocols and procedures.

Health Minister Roger Cook called for the review after an error in the reporting of a DNA profile match was exposed last month surrounding the provision of information to WA Police in 2004, which incorrectly listed a named individual leading to that individual’s conviction.

“I am deeply concerned that breaches and errors by PathWest have compromised evidence and in one case lead to a wrongful conviction.” Minister for Health Roger Cook said.

“PSC review will consider the adequacy of internal and external communication mechanisms in relation to routine results and where breaches of protocols have occurred.”

In relation to a DNA database as defined in section 76 of the Criminal Investigation (Identifying People) Act 2002 (the Act), the review will investigate:

a) Effectiveness of the quality controls system;

b) Compliance with Part 10 of the Act;

c) Reporting mechanisms that monitor compliance with protocols and procedures.

In addition, the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) is undertaking its own audit to determine whether any other errors could have occurred and the Attorney General has referred the matter to the Corruption and Crime Commission to investigate.

“It will identify and report on any non-compliances or breaches which are found to have occurred and make recommendations for improvements to governance, management, training and probity controls to enhance the services provided as they pertain to the integrity of forensic results.” Mr. Cook said.

PSC and NMHS reviews will run separately to the Ross Inquiry which will determine whether the misconduct of a PathWest employee, in relation to 27 cases, compromised evidence provided to WA Police and the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions.