Military personnel committing serious offences could soon have to give DNA to police

Moves are being made to allow police to take DNA samples from military personnel convicted under a court martial system.

Moves are being made to allow police to take DNA samples from military personnel convicted under a court martial system.

While serious crimes occur both within the Defence Force and the civilian world, the way they are recorded and prosecuted can vary greatly. Kirsty Lawrence reports. 

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has ordered a review of a loophole that allows soldiers to escape giving DNA samples to police after being convicted of serious offending. 

Nearly two dozen Defence Force personnel have faced charges of indecent assault and rape in the past two decades, with none of those found guilty having their crimes recorded on their civilian criminal records.

Corey Michael Kennett, who was convicted of indecently assaulting several female recruits in the military back in 2005.

Corey Michael Kennett, who was convicted of indecently assaulting several female recruits in the military back in 2005.

This means the crime doesn't count towards the three strike policy and it is not accessible for employers to access when requesting police checks. 

It also means the perpetrator does not have to give DNA to police. 

* Ex soldier who sexually assaulted recruit says offending 'pales in comparison to punishment'
Corporal Corey Kennett's conviction for assaulting young women 'hidden' by army court martial system
Opinion:  Defence Force must hold sex predators accountable
Raped ex-naval officer wants compensation and culture change
New report shows "persistent" sexism, abuse concerns in military

Among those who avoided a criminal record was Corey Kennett, who pleaded guilty to 12 charges in relation to a sexually motivated attack on a female soldier.

Kennett was sentenced to six months' detention at the Military Prison in Burnham before being dismissed from the military. 

His court martial was never publicly reported, although the Defence Force informed local media only about the impending court martial.

Mandatory DNA recording was introduced in New Zealand 20 years ago, for people found guilty of qualifying crimes.

Ad Feedback

A qualifying crime is an offence that could result in a prison sentence of more than seven years, so the person is required to give a DNA sample under the Criminal Investigations Blood Samples Act.

This DNA databank has been used to solve hundreds of cases since.

But unknown to many members of the public, politicians and employers, members of the Defence Force found guilty of the same crimes through a court martial are not under the same obligation.

However, the defence force are trying to rectify that.

In 2016 a request was sent to the Minister of Defence, Gerry Brownlee, to assess the situation.  

Brownlee then sent letters to the Ministers of Justice and police to request their participation in a partnership regime. 

A Defence Force spokesman confirmed the request was made.

He said it was done when Defence discovered the military justice system was not compatible with the civilian system for taking DNA samples. 

They proposed the partnership so they could align both system by making it compulsory for the bodily sample to be collected post-conviction for the same offending. 

In order for this to happen a minor legislative amendment had to be made, he said. 

After sending out letters proposing the change, the Defence Force were contacted by the Law Commission who said they were already conducting a review of the use of DNA in criminal investigations

It was decided in March the DNA proposal would be part of the Law Commission review. 

In  a release on the Law Commission website, former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said the commission would be researching and meeting with experts and scientists over the next few months before talking to the public.

Police national forensic services manager Inspector John Walker said police supported the move.

"It is important to police that the opportunities to resolve serious crimes early are enhanced by maintaining an up-to-date DNA Databank of the DNA of persons convicted of serious offending, whether in courts martial or criminal courts." 

 - Sunday Star Times


Ad Feedback
special offers

Advantage Auckland City in final

Joao Moreira celebrates his second goal.

Team Wellington have a mountain to climb if they're to make a game of it in second leg of OFC Champions League final.

Masterclass in 'celebrating' fallen teacher's life

It's believed swimmer Leslie Gelberger was run-over by a boat in Auckland harbour.

Emotional scenes as family and friends say goodbye to Leslie Gelberger at the high school he taught at.

How about an underwater stadium?

An artist's impression of a possible underground stadium in Auckland.

A designer says another crater would fit right in on Auckland's waterfront.

Security guard drops burglar

"Stealing from hospice is pretty low," says Insite Security's Chris Martin.

A rugby league-loving security guard made the perfect tackle to bring down a burglar armed with a crowbar.


From 'Fats' to fighting fit video

Fats Moke is a big man with a gang history who has worked with Dr Tom Mulholland to get his diabetes under control.

After a shock diagnosis, former mobster 'Fats' Moke is fighting back against losing his legs.

Big bill from toxic sites

Contaminated Te Mome Stream - or Dead Man's Arm to locals - has priority status for a clean-up.

Taxpayers to foot the bill for more than 60 toxic sites across NZ that still require funding.

Back to school for Andrew Little

Labour Party leader Andrew Little will be stepping out from the comfort of Parliament to do admin at Island Bay School.

Labour Leader to take on his wife's job and run the admin office at a Wellington school.

Wine ... and eggs?

Winemaker Tony Bish imported an oak egg from France which will be used to make chardonnay.

An unlikely combination of wine and eggs is taking wine innovation to another level.


Thieves target high-end shops

Staff at The Collective at The Colombo are sick of thieves targeting their store.

Chch's The Collective hit three times in a week, with one thief taking jacket off a mannequin.

Car plunge mystery

Police say they received a call at 4.50pm about a car entering the Buller River.

A dog escaped, but the driver is yet to be found after car crashed into the Buller River.

Snow to hit Port Hills?

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel battles an umbrella in the wind on Sunday.

Worst of the chilly gales and rain will hit about 6pm - and snow could settle on the hills.

Coming in to land ... on SH1

Air Kaikoura Aero Club, pictured with its training plane near Mt Fyffe, supplied a service between Kaikoura and Clarence.

Cars cannot drive on it, so the Kaikoura aero club wants to use it for planes.


Architectural wonders revealed

The new law and management building at Waikato University was designed by Opus Architecture.

A lot of well known Waikato and Bay of Plenty buildings - and spaces - have earned accolades.

It's our turn to fix this

A medical school backed by Waikato Hospital, pictured, and Waikato University  seeks to train GPs to fill a critical ...

OPINION: The old boys have failed to fix New Zealand's doctor shortage, now it's our turn.

Join the fight for our med school

Waikato University vice-chancellor Professor Neil Quigley and Waikato District Health Board chief executive Dr Nigel Murray.

A proposed medical school in the Waikato has the Government interested.

Ref raids accounts

050711 NEWS. Robert Charles/Taranaki Daily News. Cheque/ cheque book. Money. Bank.

Colleagues blew the whistle on referee who swiped $13K and a video camera.


Campbell Lane opens

South Taranaki District mayor Ross Dunlop officiated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

New development in Hawera gets the thumbs-up from residents.

Crowds at health expo

There was a vast array of products and services available.

Health and wellness expo in New Plymouth boomed.

Faith in the future

Taranaki Cathedral of St Mary's, Bishop Philip Richardson, centre, blesses Dean of St Mary's Very Reverend Peter Beck as ...

New Zealand's oldest church is being strengthened and it's about more than bricks and mortar.

Mail delays irk posties

Postal Workers Union's Southern District president John Maynard said they want New Zealand Post investigated for serious ...

Reaction to a story on 'snail mail' was not new news to posties.


A look inside the stricken gorge video

The two slips are around two kilometres apart and it will take weeks for the road through the gorge to reopen.

The road through the Manawatu Gorge will be closed for weeks - and here's why.

Cyber act in action

The Harmful Digitial Communications Act was passed in July 2015.

Act helps as more than 20 people prosecuted for posting harmful content online.

Ram-raid attempt to steal cigarettes

The Feilding BP on Kimbolton Rd was ram-raided.

A stolen ute was used to ram into a BP station in an attempt to steal cigarettes

NZDF civilians take strike action

Civilian employees of NZDF are on strike about pay.

Union accuses the Defence Force of intimidation after strike action.


Not a house, it's a croquet shelter

Athol Turner has a few home comforts at the Hinemoa Croquet Club shelter, including coffee and a biography of Alec Guiness.

As the Nelson City Council looks to implement a new law banning sleeping in the city we meet a man who has made a croquet club his home.

Housing crisis help?

David Barnes, right, with his son Samuel Barnes who needs medical care, pictured with the dwelling David built for him ...

A Nelson man built a home on his property for his mentally-ill son. Could this solve our housing issues?

Guilty of murder

Philip Quayle died after being attacked on a street in Cairns, Australia, about 100 metres from home.

A man who choked a Nelson man to death during a random street attack in Cairns has been found guilty of murder.

Taking a leaf out of the future video

Nelson Mail Journalist Tim O'Connell with the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle(EV) that the Nelson Mail has had on loan from ...

Tim O'Connell shares the thrills, trials and tribulations of driving an electric vehicle.


Meat pies and babies

Blenheim-raised comedian Tony Lyall is performing his new show Happy Hour at the NZ International Comedy Festival next week.

 Blenheim-raised comedian Tony Lyall's new show is about the things, big and small, that put a smile on people's faces.

Sound of the future

The junior Blenheim Brass Band excelled at the New Zealand National Brass Band Championships in Wellington. They used a ...

Young brass band members may one day sport colourful, plastic instruments.

Jetset health staff costing millions

District health boards across the country are grappling with a specialist shortage.

Spending on overseas medical staff is in the millions, as a union warns NZ increasingly reliant on international workers.

Hockey trio off to tackle Aussies

Andrew Nation will represent the New Zealand 35-40 years side in Whangarei.

Three hockey players will represent their country at the 2017 Trans-Tasman Masters Challenge.

South Canterbury

Parents remember 'talented' son

Rowan Yeager died following a crash near Lake Ohau on Anzac Day. This photo, supplied by friend Andrew Weatherall, shows ...

Man killed in crash near Lake Ohau was just a week off moving into house he built by hand.

Cleverley 'exonerated'

Former South Canterbury District Health Board chair Murray Cleverley has spoken out for the first time about his ...

Former SCDHB chair Murray Cleverley says decision to resign as chair was tough.

Late-night quad bike death

The man crashed a quad bike just before midnight on Friday night.

A man was killed in a crash on a South Canterbury highway just before midnight.

'We have got a lot of work to do'

SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor says the DHB is going try and improve low rates of HPV vaccination by providing more ...

SC has a 'poor' HPV vaccination rate, prompting the DHB to turn to social media.


Volunteer firefighters getting medical training

Edendale Firefighters Brendon Cameron, Shane Elliott, Richard Hart, Scottie Cameron, Brian Coyle, Rudi Verplancke and ...

Some Southland volunteer fire brigades are taking on extra medical training to provide a service to fill a need within their community.

Visitor tax unlikely

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay in Queenstown.

Finance Minister says more money does need to be spent on tourism infrastructure.

Pros and cons of reform

Southland Regional Development Strategy governance group chair Tom Campbell.

Experts say the effect of the changes to immigration reform are uncertain at this stage, with both positives and negatives to come out of the new policy.

Walking for enjoyment

Recreational walking gives June Wilson, left, and Ngaire Evans immense pleasure.

Joining walking groups is good for exercise and making friends, June Wilson says.

Ad Feedback