Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guilty until proven innocent?

At long last - Gardai will soon have the right to take DNA samples from convicted criminals and those suspected or charged with a serious offence.

Why Ireland Inc waited so long for this measure to be brought it is anyone’s business. But now that it is almost here, it is a move that has to be welcomed.

But one Fianna Fail TD has stuck his neck on the line when it comes to the new DNA database - he believes that everyone should have to give a sample from the get-go.

Deputy Brendan Kenneally is chairman of the Oireachtas Justice Committee so he has his finger on the pulse of all things right and wrong in the eyes of the law.

But his proposal to take samples from everyone - regardless of their status under law - is sure to raise eyebrows and cause some controversy.

He said he sees no reason why the State can’t keep everyone’s DNA on file for use in crime solving.

“If everyone;s DNA records were available for this purpose, crime and organised crime would be crippled in this country,” he said.

“The criminals would have no where to hide and the amount of unsolved crimes, including murders, would also be slashed.”

The term ‘guilty until proved innocent’ is starting to creep in here.

He says as long as measures were taken so the DNA was only used to solve crimes, law abiding citizens would have nothing to fear from this measure.

“This system would help us know who was on the scene of practically every crime and that would make it very difficult for any criminal to get away with their actions, which would surely be better for the country,” he said.

Many in favour of an all-in DNA database will say ‘sure I have nothing to hide so I have nothing to fear’.

But the debate goes far beyond that - first DNA, what next? Microchipping?

I am no conspiracy theorist but I plan on keeping my DNA all to myself and I’m certain that this is a view held by a wide section of Irish society.

After all, we are all innocent until proven guilty.