Israel’s Supreme Court: DNA alone is sufficient for conviction

Justices concur, a guilty verdict can be based solely on genetic material in specific cases

By Aviel Magnezi


The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that DNA evidence is sufficient to convict a defendant of a crime.

DNA (Illustration) Photo: Jupiter

DNA Illustration – Photo: Jupiter

The decision, made by justices Edna Arbel, Uzi Fogelman and Zvi Zilbertal, upheld the conviction of a Kiryat Gat resident who was found guilty of carrying weapons, intimidation and possession of stolen goods.

The criminal, Asher Elmaliach, was sent to prison after his finger prints were found on masking tape he used to attach a grenade that he stole from the security forces to the front door of an Ashdod home.

The precedential conviction, made by the Beersheba District Court, was based solely on the DNA found on the masking tape. The court rejected the defense’s claims about inadequacies in the way that that testimonies and evidence were collected.

Elmaliach filed an appeal with the Supreme Court last year.

“A conviction cannot be based solely on DNA, when there is no other evidence to support the conviction,” his attorney wrote. “Until now, courts have demanded additional proof to link the defendant to a crime, aside from DNA.”

Arbel dismissed the argument, saying that the “DNA molecule is composed of a sequence that is unique to each person, so there aren’t two people, aside from identical twins,” who share the same genetic identity.

She asserted that “in some cases it is possible to convict a defendant based on DNA evidence,” but stressed that such verdicts should be issued only under unusual circumstances.

“This kind of conviction must be made with extreme caution, considering the fact that the it is based on one single piece of evidence.”