Legality Of DNA Test On A Deceased Person (Part 2) 

Deborah Warrie

Deborah Warrie

Legal procedure to get a paternity test performed

Depending on the circumstance of the case, the party involved can ask the Court for a DNA test to be conducted. Or the Court can suo motu (on its own accord) order for a DNA case to be conducted. in  the case of Olayinka vs Adeparusi & Anor (2011) LPELR 8691 CA, the Court, per Denton West JCA, held:

“…If a party is claiming paternity, it is trite that a Court of law should be allowed to determine the same on proof of evidence relating to paternity, which could only be done by referral for a DNA test of the parties involved. After such a test, the Court has a duty to declare the actual father of the child in dispute in consonance with the evidence at its disposal. DNA, as the molecule that contains the genetic code of any organism hereditary and has become a euphemism for scientific analysis of genetic constitution, to determine one’s roots. where one is a minor (not mature adult) and his paternity is in issue, the Court can order the conduct of a DNA test, in the overall interest of the child, to ascertain where he belongs.”

Medical Procedure 

To perform a paternity test at DNA level a blood sample is required from the mother, the alleged father, and the child. Children of any age can be tested. Unlike the traditional blood tests where the child has to be six months of age, there is no age limit with DNA. Paternity testing can be performed on unborn children. Prenatal paternity testing can be performed with the amniotic fluid or a chorionic villus sample collected from the mother’s womb prior to birth or with fetal tissue. Paternity testing can also be performed using postmortem specimens.

Deceased DNA Testing

It is possible to perform paternity testing by comparing DNA profiles from the child and an alleged father or mother who is deceased. To establish parentage,  forensic samples from the deceased individuals are required postmortem for paternity disputes or estate claims. However, prior to commencing testing, it would need to be established whether a sample is available from the deceased party.

Who Collects the Sample from the Deceased?

The sample collected from the deceased for DNA testing may be a hair follicle, fingernail, or blood sample. However, written consent from the deceased party’s family or relative must first be obtained before commencing the test.

What if there isn’t a sample available from the deceased?

A relationship DNA test can be used in cases where an alleged parent is not available for the testing of a direct parent-child relationship. Extended relationship DNA testing can be carried out to determine whether there is a relationship between the persons being DNA tested. Testing can be performed between individuals who may share common relatives. In the next edition we shall look at some CASES WHERE DECEASED DNA TESTING WAS USED COURT.

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