15 May 2019

DNA testing could help resolve Pacific land disputes - lawyer

7:58 am on 15 May 2019

A Cook Islands lawyer says the use of DNA evidence could speed up the resolution of disputes over land ownership.

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept, court

Photo: ikiryo/123RF

Last week, DNA results were read out in the Cook Islands Land Court in the hearing of a claim over native freehold lands.

The Cook Islands News reported that it's the first time DNA testing was brought before the court.

The lawyer representing the claimants in the case, Tina Browne, said the tests are more reliable than using witnesses.

"Normally you go through giving evidence and most of it is hearsay but now that you have DNA available, then I think that's probably the best evidence."

Ms Browne, who is also the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, said land court hearings were often contentious, with many people unwilling to give evidence.