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Northern Ireland (Location of Victims' Remains) Act 1999

Section 4: Restrictions on forensic testing

14.The provision of relevant information to the Commission will, it is hoped, lead to the recovery of human remains. Whether or not remains are recovered, other items may also of course be found, such as items of clothing, bullets or firearms. The results of any forensic testing of the remains themselves or of such other items might be useful to the prosecution in any criminal proceedings, and this section therefore provides protection in this respect. Subsection (1) prohibits forensic testing for any of the purposes set out in paragraphs (a) to (f) of any human remains or other item found as a result of relevant information having been provided to the Commission.

15.The prohibition on testing is subject to two exceptions:

  • Testing for inquest purposes is allowed (subsection (2)); and

  • Testing is allowed in order to establish whether an item can safely be moved (subsection (3)); this is to cater for the situation where explosives or other potentially dangerous items are recovered.

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