25 de Feb de 2020

Nacional

Crime lab has no chemicals for DNA

That leaves 1200 paternity files open and 2500 criminal cases waiting to be investigated, but the technicians have not been able to do a...

That leaves 1200 paternity files open and 2500 criminal cases waiting to be investigated, but the technicians have not been able to do anything.

The DNA laboratory was opened two years ago and had state of the art equipment to carry out the tests, but they ran out of chemicals and analysis has stopped, to the detriment of prisoners who are awaiting test results for their cases to go forward and mothers who awaiting verdicts to claim child support.

The chief of the Molecular Analysis Unit, Diomedes Trejos said that it costs over $400,000 a year to run the laboratory and currently they are waiting for the budget to be approved by the National Assembly.

He added that the requisition orders have been put forward and they are just waiting for the items to be acquired.

The paternity tests order by the family courts which are provided free by the Legal Medicine Institute and cost approximately $240 per analysis.

Six experts deal with all the civil and criminal cases around the country and if they have the necessary materials, DNA tests can be done in 48 hours.

Trejos said that the problem they have at the moment is the quantity of files they have at the moment and for that reason courts, prosecutors and police could be waiting for a result for months.

“In many occasions the delay in giving a test result depends on if we have the materials or not,” added Trejos.

“Now that the legal system in Panama has changed from persecutory to accusatory, that means that nobody could be jailed until the police finishes its investigation, having a working laboratory is essential, because although the new system favors the innocent, many criminals could be roaming the streets while the Public Ministry waits for DNA results to bring the cases to court,” said the scientist.

“The investigators rely on scientific proof to support their cases, even though it is just another element to prove the innocence or guilt of a person,” explained Trejos.

The chief of the Molecular Analysis Unit said that if the government had authorized the budget at the beginning of the year, then the requisitions could be made on time to avoid the present situation.