Barbados

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The 2008 Interpol DNA profiling survey lists Barbados as a country that is planning a DNA database. Barbados adopted its Forensic Procedures and DNA Identification Act in 2005.

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Detailed analysis

Forensic Procedures and DNA Identification Act[1]


The Barbados DNA database system is comprised of seven sub-databases: a crime scene DNA index, a missing persons index, an unknown deceased persons index, a serious offenders index, a volunteers (unlimited purposes) index, a volunteers (limited purposes) index, a suspects index. The “crime scene DNA index” is a database of DNA profiles derived from forensic material found at any place whether in or outside Barbados where a serious offence was, or is reasonably suspected of having been committed, on or within the body of a victim, or a person reasonably suspected of being a victim of a serious offence, on anything worn or carried by the victim when a serious offence was, or is reasonably suspected of having been committed, or on or within the body of anyone, on anything, or at any place, associated with the commission of a serious offence.[2] The “missing persons index” is a database of DNA profiles derived from forensic material of persons who are missing and volunteers who are relatives by blood of missing persons. The “unknown deceased persons index” is a database of DNA profiles derived from forensic material of deceased persons whose identities are unknown. The “serious offenders index” is a database of DNA profiles derived from forensic material taken from suspects who have been convicted of a serious offence.[3]

The “suspects index” is a database of DNA profiles derived from forensic material taken from suspects. A “suspect” means any of the following persons: a person suspected by a police officer, on reasonable grounds, to have committed an offence, a person charged with an offence, and a person who has been summoned to appear before a Court for an offence. The “volunteers (limited purposes) index” is a database of DNA profiles derived from forensic material taken from volunteers who, or whose parents or guardians have been informed that information obtained shall be used only for the purpose of a criminal investigation or any other purpose for which the DNA system may be used. The “volunteers (unlimited purposes) index” is a database of DNA profiles derived from material taken from volunteers who, or whose parents or guardians, have been informed that information obtained may be used for the purpose of a criminal investigation or any other purpose for which the DNA database system may be used and from deceased persons whose identity is known.[4]

Samples may be coercively collected from any individual meeting the criteria of a suspect: a person suspected by a police officer, on reasonable grounds, to have committed an offence, a person charged with an offence, and a person who has been summoned to appear before a Court for an offence.[5]

Where a magistrate disallows an interim order for the carrying out of a forensic procedure, the magistrate shall order any forensic material obtained as a result of the carrying out of the procedure and a copy of the results of any analysis of that forensic material to be destroyed as soon as practicable after the disallowance. Where an order by a Court for the carrying out of a forensic procedure or the retention of forensic material states a period for which the material obtained as a result of the carrying out of the procedure may be retained, the material shall be destroyed as soon as practicable after the end of the period. Where a police officer obtained an order for the carrying out of a forensic procedure on a serious offender whose conviction was quashed after the making of the order, the Commissioner shall inform the Director of the quashed conviction and ensure that any forensic material obtained as a result of the carrying out of the procedure is destroyed by the Director as soon as practicable after the conviction is quashed. [6]

Where a proceeding for an offence to which the forensic material relates has not been instituted within one year after the material was taken or the proceeding has been discontinued, the material shall be destroyed by the Director as soon as it is practicable to do so unless a warrant for the apprehension of the suspect has been issued or the Court otherwise directs. Where forensic material has been taken from a person who is a suspect and the person is found to have committed an offence to which the forensic material relates but no conviction is recorded or the person is acquitted of an offence to which the forensic material relates and no action is brought in respect of the decision or acquittal, the forensic material shall be destroyed as soon as practicable. Nevertheless, where an investigation into, or a proceeding against a person is pending in relation to another offence to which the material relates, the material may be retained. The Court may, on application by the Director of Public Prosecutions, extend for not longer than one year the period for which forensic material may be retained under this section, where the Court is satisfied that the extension is justified in the circumstances.[7]




  1. [CITE CODIFIED FORM] (hereinafter “Barbados DNA Identification Act”)
  2. For the purposes of the present statute, “serious offence” means an indictable offence including an offence under the Road Traffic Act that is punishable on indictment an offence punishable by a term of more than 3 years imprisonment. Barbados DNA Identification Act, § 2.
  3. Barbados DNA Identification Act, § 2, 64.
  4. Barbados DNA Identification Act, § 64.
  5. Barbados DNA Identification Act, § 2, 31 (section 31 provides that ““[a]n authorised person or a police officer who is authorised to carry out a forensic procedure on a person, may use such reasonable force as is necessary (a) to enable that procedure to be carried out; or (b) to prevent loss, destruction or contamination of any sample.”).
  6. Barbados DNA Identification Act, §§ 59, 60.
  7. Barbados DNA Identification Act, § 61.