DNA-databank not possible

POSTED: 11/21/12 1:15 PM

St. Maarten – It is not possible to set up a national DNA databank on St. Maarten according to the current legislation, attorney mr. Geert Hatzmann said yesterday.

After the arrest yesterday of Jasper S., the suspect in the Marianne Vaatstra case, a discussion about a national DNA databank erupted.  Former Head of Police, Lex  Mellink said in an interview in De Telegraaf, that every Dutchman has to give a sample of their DNA to put them in a databank. With this databank cases of murder and rape can be solved faster.

This is the first time in The Netherlands that a DNA testing was done to solve a murder case on such a large scale. Over 6,600 men had given a sample of their DNA after they received a letter from the Ministry of Justice to voluntarily get tested.

“What happened in the Vaatstra case is incomparable to other cases.” Hatzmann said. “The people who got tested were doing that voluntarily and were living in a small community, if this would happen in a big city the odds are many times smaller to find a match.”

Hatzmann has second thoughts on the databank “You have to be very careful with what is going to happen with the DNA. You have to be sure that the DNA samples of a whole nation will be secured and handled with care so that it won’t leak to third parties. Insurance companies for example, may increase their premiums after finding out which diseases you have or by seeing your full DNA profile, which diseases you could get.”

St. Maarten does have a databank for fingerprints, which have been proven to solve cases from many years ago. Fingerprints are still taken from people even if they get arrested for misdemeanors. After finding fingerprints on a crime scène, the prints will be run through de databank and may find matches with suspects. This way it is still possible to solve crimes even though DNA wasn’t found. “If there’s a crime scene with no prints, because they can be swiped away easily, but with only DNA, the databank would be a good tool. But still if there is a match out of thousands or maybe millions of people, it is not one hundred percent certain that the right person will be held responsible for it.”

“If the databank will go through, there will be a lot to do to protect the many samples against fraud, leaking etc. Right now I think there are still a lot of question marks surrounding this subject that need to be solved.”

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