Qld forensic lab inquiry to probe police

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Queensland police will come under the microscope of a royal commission into concerns about the state forensic lab that have led to dozens of sexual assault cases being reopened.

A formal commission of inquiry will probe concerns the lab failed to test crucial DNA evidence in cases stretching back to 2018.

Detectives have started reviewing evidence in more than 50 sexual assault cases since the probe was ordered on Monday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the inquiry will look at police practices involving DNA evidence as well.

"Serious issues have been raised," she said in a statement on Friday.

"The people of this State must have confidence in the reliability of results from the lab."

The inquiry will determine if DNA collection, testing and analysis has been reliable, in line with best practice and whether it resulted in accurate reporting of results.

If and when that hasn't happened, the inquiry will report the reasons.

Commissioner Walter Sofronoff, a former Court of Appeal president, has been appointed to lead the probe.

"He will leave no stone unturned," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Potential problems with the lab first came to light as a result of The Australian's podcast series about the investigation into the brutal slaying of Shandee Blackburn.

The 23-year-old was stabbed more than 20 times on her way home from work in Mackay in February 2013.

Shandee Blackburn's former boyfriend John Peros, a champion amateur boxer, was charged with murder but acquitted in the Supreme Court in 2017.

The coroner in August 2020 found Ms Blackburn died from injuries sustained during an incident involving violence with Mr Peros, who used a bladed instrument.

The coronial inquiry was reopened in February to consider "recent issues raised regarding the forensic evidence and testing of evidence in this case".

Justice Sofronoff is due to hand down his final report on December 13, and has been given the power to release an interim report at his discretion.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting