PathWest DNA error referred to PSC and CCC for investigation

June 1st, 2017 by: admin
  • A serious error in the reporting of a DNA profile match by PathWest has come to the attention of the State Government
  • Health Minister Roger Cook has requested the Public Sector Commissioner conduct an immediate inquiry into PathWest’s operations
  • Attorney General John Quigley has referred the matter to the Corruption and Crime Commission

The State Government has taken action after it was revealed that an individual was charged in 2004 with a criminal offence based on a DNA match that was later identified as DNA belonging to another individual with the same first name and surname.

It is understood the error was not identified until April 2016, when Western Australia Police were notified by PathWest.

It was only last week that WA Police advised the Director of Public Prosecutions and the wrongly convicted man.

Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:

“Late last week I was notified by the Department of Health about an error in the reporting of a DNA profile match by PathWest.

“This is a very serious matter and I have requested the Public Sector Commissioner conduct an immediate review into PathWest’s operations to determine whether or not this was an isolated incident.  The scope of the review will be a matter for the Commissioner and relevant authorities to determine.

“The North Metropolitan Health Service is also undertaking its own audit to determine whether any other errors of this nature could have occurred.  I have also met with the Chair of the North Metropolitan Health Service today to outline my concerns with regards to this matter.

“I want to reassure the legal community that everything is being done to prevent incidents such as this from occurring in the future.  All Western Australians need to have confidence in PathWest’s ability to deliver high-quality forensic services.”

Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:

“It is deeply concerning that the DNA error was apparently discovered 12 months ago and reported by PathWest to WA Police, but the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the wrongly convicted man, were not informed until last week.

“The State Solicitor has advised me that, as the State’s first law officer, he strongly recommends that I refer that 12 month delay to the Corruption and Crime Commission to investigate potential serious misconduct.

“I made that reference on Monday afternoon and the matter is now in the hands of CCC Commissioner John McKechnie QC.

“I had a personal conversation with the wrongly convicted man yesterday and offered him an apology on behalf of the State of WA.”

Health Minister’s office – 6552 6500

Attorney General’s office – 6552 6800

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