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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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The Use of Expert Forensic DNA Testimony in Ontario Criminal Trial Courts

Dawn Cohen, graduate student, Forensic Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Cecilia Hageman, Assistant Professor, Forensic Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Published April 19, 2018 by Technologies of Justice.

Cecilia Hageman and Dawn Cohen hosted a panel on the use of expert forensic DNA testimony in Ontario criminal trial courts during a session titled Technology on Trial? Exploring The Use and Misuse of Evidence. The session took place on January 26, 2018, at the Technologies of Justice Conference, hosted at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Cohen and Dr. Hageman spoke on the misinterpretation of DNA evidence and expert DNA witnesses in trial courts. They helped their audience define what DNA evidence is and how is it used. They explained how there is a chance of coincidence in the probability of shared profiles (although it is rare) as well as the chance of DNA transfer, where DNA can be moved and sampled when someone has never actually been on the scene. They highlighted the need for forensic and DNA specialists to know what is done with a testimony after it is given by an expert DNA witness. Both researchers have conducted a study of past trials to find out the use or lack of use of DNA evidence given by expert witness; during the panel they explained how their research has shown that statistical and percentage-based use of evidence is often misinterpreted or unused, and how to help bring better usage of DNA data to the courts by including expert witnesses and expert testimony in a greater part of court proceedings.