Forensic DNA method helps courts in taking quick decisions in rape cases, says firm
It is very helpful in cases where survivors and their family members turn hostile during the trial, said public affairs consultancy Gordon Thomas Honeywell-GA.
Many courts in India were able to quickly deliver judgement in cases of crimes against minors, especially rape because of the forensic DNA method, says consultancy firm Gordon Thomas Honeywell-GA, which has been tracking convictions based on the basis of DNA evidence.
In the last six months, judiciary has treated forensic DNA testing results as conclusive evidence, it said.
It is very helpful in cases where survivors and their family members turn hostile during the trial, the firm said. The pattern is seen in cases that are heard by special POCSO courts, it added.
“Traditionally, prosecution has depended on the sole evidence of rape victims in courts. Oral evidence of the victim, though sufficient to punish the rapist, has its limitations. Due to delays, a victim’s memory often fades, because of which defence lawyers can manage to confuse them during cross-examination and make their statements appear to be contradictory and false,” said senior Supreme Court advocate Vivek Sood, who worked with the consultancy group on this study.
A study by public affairs consultancy Gordon Thomas Honeywell-GA said that four different courts in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have convicted perpetrators found guilty of raping minors, primarily based on forensic DNA evidence.
“DNA forensics have proved to be one of the most powerful tools worldwide to help nab criminals in sexual crimes. DNA evidence gathered with rape kits can identify an unknown assailant or confirm the presence of a known suspect. Not only can it connect the suspect to crime scenes and identify serial offenders, it can also exonerate those who are wrongfully accused,” said Tim Schellberg, Founder and President, Gordon Thomas Honeywell-GA.
The process is becoming successful because of proper and timely collection of biological evidence by the police and medical examiners from the crime scene and the victim’s body following an incident. The evidence is then matched with DNA samples gathered from suspects leading to positive identification.
Based on the scientific evidence, the courts are able to disregarded conflicting statements made by hostile witnesses to arrive at their verdict.
“In 2018, every fourth rape victim across the country was a minor and in almost 95 per cent of rape cases, the offenders were known to the victims. These statistics not only show the vulnerability of children to sexual predators but also explain why rape survivors are pressured by their family to turn hostile,” said Suman Nalwa, DCP, Delhi Police, quoting figures from the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.
The number of DNA profiles developed from crime scene evidence has doubled over a year from 10,000 cases tested in 2017 to nearly 20,000 in 2019, as per Gordon Thomas Honeywell-GA.