Commissioner: DNA inquiry submissions may not lead to different outcomes

Submissions to the Queensland inquiry into DNA testing probably won’t result in different outcomes for individual criminal matters, according to Commissioner Walter Sofronoff KC.

On Friday, Mr Sofronoff took time to explain that the independent Commission of Inquiry into Forensic DNA Testing in Queensland had only been charged with investigating how DNA testing worked, whether there were any problems and, if so, what and how they could be rectified.

He said that submissions to the inquiry regarding individual cases might not result in different outcomes in alleged criminal matters.

“We have published on the Commission’s website a message to victim survivors of offences that have been committed, and in that message I invited such people who think errors may have been made in DNA collection or testing or analysis to make a submission to me about how the system of collection and processing of DNA samples has affected them,” Mr Sofronoff said.

“I should say, and I want to emphasise, that submissions of that kind will probably not result in any different outcome for an individual case, because the task of my inquiry is not to look at particular cases with a view to seeing how they went awry and recommending that steps be taken to rectify anything that went awry, if anything did ever go awry.

“The task of my Commission is to investigate how the system of DNA testing in Queensland works and whether there are any problems and, if so, what they are and how they can be rectified.


“So I emphasise that if you make a submission to me, I will be interested in reading it, but it is unlikely that anything that I say in my report or anything that I can recommend to the government as a result of things that I have looked at will directly affect your case.”

The commission’s public hearings began in Court 17 of Brisbane’s George Street Magistrates Court today. More information, including a livestream of proceedings, is available on the commission’s website.

Read Friday’s transcript.

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