Search Legislation

Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2013

Article 63P – Destruction of samples

This Article requires DNA samples to be destroyed as soon as a DNA profile has been derived from the sample, and no later than 6 months from the date on which it was taken (Article 63P(2)), with an exception for temporary retention where the sample is likely to be needed in proceedings. Any other sample, for example, dental or skin impressions, must also be destroyed within 6 months of being taken (Article 63P(3)). However, Article 63P(4) to (10) provides that samples may be retained for a longer period than six months where it appears to the Chief Constable that, in relation to a serious offence, retention is necessary to ensure that key evidence (in the form of DNA samples) remains available for disclosure to the defendant or to respond to an evidential challenge by the defendant. In such cases, the decision to extend the permissible retention period would fall to a District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) following an ex parte application made by the Chief Constable. If approved, the District Judge would authorise retention of the material for 12 months, extendable (on one or more occasions) following a further (inter partes) application by the Chief Constable. Any material retained in this way would only be available for use in that case. The time within which material is to be destroyed will be subject to the time required to carry out a search against the material (Article 63P(11)).

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources