Home World Scientist Alan McNevin explains the testing process in the lab

Scientist Alan McNevin explains the testing process in the lab

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The Queensland DNA investigation is ongoing.

A senior researcher at Queensland’s scandal-plagued Forensic Science and Forensic Services Laboratory has defended the process of refusing to test crime scene samples that contained only small amounts of DNA.

Alan McNevin told the Queensland Evidence Review Commission that he thought about how efficient the lab team could be when it came to handling samples with small amounts of DNA.

“It’s a more practical aspect of working in a scenario where it’s not practical to sample everything at a crime scene,” he said.

On Monday, Alan McNevin of the Queensland Department of Forensic Medicine and Science gave evidence.
On Monday, Alan McNevin of the Queensland Department of Forensic Medicine and Science gave evidence.

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“You don’t have the resources to do everything and have all the time in the world.”

Under cross-examination, Mr McNevin said DNA samples in the DIFP range (DNA insufficient for further processing) would be re-examined if further tests were requested from Queensland Health.

The inquiry, led by former judge Walter Safronow, is examining a process the state lab has been using since 2018 to stop testing crime scene samples that contained only small amounts of DNA.

An interim report revealed that scientists had been making misleading claims about the DNA discovery for nearly two years.

On Monday afternoon, Mr McNevin said an assessment of the risks of the new trial had been completed, including whether it would affect how evidence was recovered.

The inquiry was told that any risks to sample recovery were offset by “process efficiencies” so the results “were more timely”.

Mr McNevin was also asked about cleaning protocols for tools used to extract bone samples after earlier concerns were raised about the effects of bleach and ethanol on the equipment.

The DNA testing inquiry in Queensland was prompted by a process change in 2018 to not test samples with low amounts of DNA.
The DNA testing inquiry in Queensland was prompted by a process change in 2018 to not test samples with low amounts of DNA.

He said there is no need for an individual cleaning protocol for each individual instrument.

The inquest was told that while he was head of evidence collection, no one had raised any concerns about equipment leaking or rusting.

“No one has come back to me to say, ‘Alan, this was not the best process,'” Mr McNevin said.

“Nobody had that conversation.”

During the investigation, several employees of the laboratory gave evidence of a “toxic” work culture, including workers who were called “b-kers”.

Last week, one academic raised concerns that criminals are getting away with it because DIFP samples are not checked thoroughly enough.

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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/scientist-at-scandalplagued-lab-defends-change-to-process-of-dna-testing/news-story/478d30727e5f77a55e13da82e55349eb

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