S and Marper win DNA battle
Well, unless the Government appeals of course.
But, David Mery says, “The judgment of the Grand Chamber is final (article 44 in Protocol No 11) and the UK by being a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) undertakes to abide by the final judgment (article 46 in Protocol No 11).”
I sit corrected.
This case, by the way, has been ongoing for seven, yes 7, years, since the two men originally requested their samples to be removed from the database.
Two British men should not have had their DNA and fingerprints retained by police, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.
The men’s information was held by South Yorkshire Police, although neither was convicted of any offence.
The judgement could have major implications on how DNA records are stored in the UK’s national database.
The judges said keeping the information “could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society”.
The database may now have to be scaled back following the unanimous judgement by 17 senior judges from across Europe.
Under present laws, the DNA profiles of everyone arrested for a recordable offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are kept on the database, regardless of whether they are charged or convicted.
The details of about 4.5m people are held and one in five of them does not have a current criminal record.
Both men were awarded £36,400 (42,000 Euros) in costs.
The judges ruled the retention of the men’s DNA “failed to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests,” and that the UK government “had overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard”.
The court also ruled “the retention in question constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants’ right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society”.
One of the men who sought the ruling in Strasbourg, Michael Marper, 45, was arrested in 2001.
He was charged with harassing his partner but the case was later dropped. He had no previous convictions.
The other man – a teenager identified as “S” – was arrested and charged with attempted robbery but later acquitted.
In both cases the police refused to destroy fingerprints and DNA samples taken when the men were taken in to custody.
The men went to the European Court of Human Rights after their cases were thrown out by the House of Lords.
They argued that retaining their DNA profiles is discriminatory and breaches their right to a private life.
The government claims the DNA profile from people who are not convicted may sometimes be linked to later offences, so storing the details on the database is a proportionate response to tackling crime.
Scotland already destroys DNA samples taken during criminal investigations from people who are not charged or who are later acquitted of alleged offences.
SpyBlog’s view, including additional questions / implications.