Forensic lab to be instituted soon

After so much of discussions and concerns, a forensic lab will be instituted soon in the country. The lab will be established as one and not department wise. Not having a forensic lab in the country had brought in various challenges while handling criminal cases.

Agencies, like RBP and OAG, have shared the challenges in case prosecution as they have to wait long for DNA results which are being sent to other countries due to lack of the forensic facilities in the country.

To this, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, during Meet-the-Press, said that there is a forensic unit in hospital and a forensic department in RBP. In addition, the judiciary also requires a forensic lab. After discussions, it was concluded that there is no need for forensic lab in every department.

He said, “We have discussed to start up a forensic lab, as one, in the hospital under Ministry of Health (MoH) with representatives from medical side, from RBP and from judiciary.”

Meanwhile, Lyonchhen said that it is not entirely true to say that lots of inconvenience is caused to the judiciary due to the lack of forensic evidences. However, it is true that they are taking time to reach to a final judgment, as in some cases, the DNA testing are being sent to other countries which takes time, he added.

“We would make sure to provide a tight security to the lab and would deploy personnel who can take the responsibilities. We have discussed everything,” he said. Health Minister is in discussions to develop the public health lab at Serbithang, Thimphu into a forensic lab, a separate wing for a forensic, he added.

Chief of Police (CoP) Brigadier Chimmi Dorji said that challenges have become more with the time, and it is becoming more prominent because of not having a forensic lab in the country. The pressure is building-up as they have no equipment and no testing facilities. He said that the biggest challenges come from dealing with rape and paternity cases requiring DNA evidence. Similarly, when there is any heinous crime committed, it is difficult to detect the prime suspect instantly.

“This leads to a situation where criminals can move around freely, giving them the opportunity to commit another crime,”  CoP said.

RBP has had to send DNA samples to as far as the United Kingdom (UK), which ultimately is very expensive due to various processes and heavy profiling. Sending the sample to India for the test takes time as they have a limited forensic labs, and they are over stressed with huge number of cases, CoP said.

Another challenge is in connection to documents, he said, adding that if a person denies signing any last will document, they need a forensics to determine if it is the deceased person’s signature.

With so much of challenges and hardship, he said that it is good news that a forensic lab will be established soon, with which it will be easier for them to solve any kind of cases within a short period of time, and also save a lot of money and will serve the purpose in better ways. An official from OAG in an earlier interview said that there is a need for forensic evidence, mostly DNA test results, when OAG fails to tie up the crime directly with just circumstantial evidences.

OAG has a lot of cases pending due to no forensic results. The official said, “When we have to wait for the forensic report, the court sends the accused on bail. Therefore, there are chances of the accused destroying the evidences, intimidating a victim or running away.”

However, if it is first or second degree felony, the court will not give a bail, the official said.

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