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DNA WARS..

By ATWadmin On December 4th, 2008

Wonder how you feel about the news that the UK Government’s high-profile national DNA database is now in tatters after a landmark ruling by the European Court.

In an unprecedented move, judges decided that keeping samples of people with no  criminal convictions on file is a breach of their human rights. The verdict could force the Government to remove the DNA details of hundreds of thousands of Britons from the current total of about 4.5 million held on the England, Wales and Northern Ireland database. In a way, I actually welcome the idea that innocent people’s DNA is not to be retained in the sweaty paws of government, but on the other hand I resent the European Court having any say in what we do!

19 Responses to “DNA WARS..”

  1. One wonders if the government will be returning the DNA to the various citizens, which can only prompt the line "Your Deoxyribonuleic Acid is in the mail."

    Welcome to the 21st Century.

  2. This is a good day for criminals. There have been several high-profile convictions obtained through DNA matches to suspects who were previously arrested on unrelated investigations, but either not charged or else acquitted.

    The victims of criminals have human rights too, one of which is to have the criminal caught and punished. Keeping these DNA samples on file helps to achieve that, so I hope the government ignores this ruling.

  3. Keeping these DNA samples on file helps to achieve that, so I hope the government ignores this ruling.

    If so, would you object to DNA samples being taken from all children born in the UK for the same purposes.

  4. I trust that Peter can and will confirm that his DNA is on the database or else confirm he has contacted the police to offer it.

    If not, then I guess he must be a "liberal"!

  5. Kloot

    While all who have been found innocent have a clean record, it’s obvious that many of these people aren’t innocent at all. They weren’t convicted because the standard of evidence was too high, or because a judge or jury made an incorrect decision.

    The chance that any member of the British public is a criminal is low. The chance that anyone arrested has committed a crime- and will do so again, as criminals tend to do- is much higher.

    Keeping DNA of those once arrested doesn’t harm anyone, unless that DNA can be linked one day to a crime.

    And it can lead to cases being reopened, if at sometime in the future more evidence is found, before the relevant statutes of limitations.

    I think that the police in NY and other states keep DNA ( mahons? ) The Feds are doing the same.

    Its a tricky balance of the rights of society vs the individual but here the UK has it right and "Europe" has it wrong.

    The European Court is hereby overruled.

  6. Fantastic news – to a point. I salute the two fine, brave, free-born Englishman who refused to bend over and take it from our ruling authoritarian junta.

    The 800 year old slow march to liberty may have stalled, but we might just march a little more.

    The ruling, I understand, is that the State may not hold the DNA of anyone not convicted of a crime on a ‘criminal’ database.

    The government might then decide to simply make it a ‘national’ database.

    Well, they’d better come for me well tooled up if they choose the latter.

    Phantom –

    There are about a million DNA samples of innocents on the databse at present. This includes the DNA taken from those who were merely witnesses to incidents, do that runs to tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of samples of those who have never been suspected of a crime.

    And as David says, what an impertinence that a foreign ‘court’ can even dream of ruling on British matters, let alone make that ruling.

  7. "While all who have been found innocent have a clean record, it’s obvious that many of these people aren’t innocent at all. They weren’t convicted because the standard of evidence was too high, or because a judge or jury made an incorrect decision."

    I’ll stop you there, Phantom. No one is ever found innocent. They are innocent until proven guilty. If you can’t prove someone guilty then they are innocent and as such should not be treated as criminals, even if you really think they did it.

    "The chance that any member of the British public is a criminal is low. The chance that anyone arrested has committed a crime- and will do so again, as criminals tend to do- is much higher."

    If a person is guilty of a crime, found guilty, then their DNA should be kept for the remainder of their lives. They are criminals and should be treated as such. It might be a product of the time and area that I was brought up in, but I don’t trust the Police. I probably never will. The idea of given them the power to forcibly remove your DNA simply becuase they arrested you is wrong in my opinion, as the Police are reguarly subjective. Many reports show that the Police have their own bigotry, like the RUC in the North, or the London Met, as shown by the Macpherson Report. I wouldn’t give those people this sort of power over innocent people.

  8. I just hope all you oh-so-upright libertarians never have one of your nearest and dearest fall victim to a murder. If it ever happened to me, I know I’d want the perp caught by whatever means necessary, even if his "innocent" DNA was the only evidence to secure a conviction.

  9. Peter

    Yep. I’m amazed that this is seen as an issue.

    There’s a nexus of libertarians and defense lawyers who want to improve the odds that their thieving and murdering clients don’t get convicted.

    I live in the real world and am not Johnny Cochran, so this is very much a no brainer. Britain’s right and Europe’s wrong.

  10. Peter –

    Before the State can make any kind of coherent case – if at all – for holding my DNA, it can do a few things.

    It can reverse the deliberate destruction of British society. It can again legislate explicitly in favour of marriage. It can stop subsidising and promoting single parenthood. It can resurrect the meaningful education system it deliberately destroyed.

    It can reinstate capital punishment for murder and stern, moral punishment for other crimes. It can stop promoting drivel and filth on a state broadcaster. It can stop promoting and subsidising irresponsibility and wastful lives by the welfare state.

    It can shrink itself and destroy the millions of rules and regulations which prevent jobs being created. It can promote civic responsibility simply by getting our of our lives.

    These acts will naturally, unarguably reduce criminality to the point where a murder is rare enough to be shocking front page news.

    When the State has done these things it can then think about taking our DNA – and realise they have no case to make.

  11. Pete Moore

    Your points belong to a different thread.

    If someone is arrested as a suspect in, say, a murder and subsequently acquitted, it may not mean that he was actually innocent of the crime in the way a normal human being (i.e. not a defence lawyer) understands the word innocent. So it is not a draconian infringement of his civil liberties if his DNA is retained on record, just as his finger-prints and mug-shots will be retained.

    The rights of victims and their families must come first.

  12. Peter –

    My comments are absolutely in order in reply to your assertion. You say:

    The rights of victims and their families must come first.

    Really? In modern Britain? You must be joking. If you really think that the rights of victims and families come first then you agree with what I say instead of lazily accepting what the government – a government that pisses on the rights of victims and their families – says to you.

  13. Pete Moore

    Retaining the DNA of suspects will lead to more convictions, without turning Britain into a police state. More convictions is good news for victims and bad news for criminals and their apologists.

  14. Peter,

    What makes you think they can keep a DNA database with integrity? They haven’t been so successful in keeping stuff confidential.

  15. Peter –

    How then have conviction rates for all crimes declined while the database has been built up? There is not a shred of evidence that conviction rates will increase – apart from when those people who upset politicians, senior civil servants and the police find their DNA mysteriously turning up at the scene of a crime they were nowhere near.

    Think it won’t happen? Guaranteed it will.

    At some point in the future Damien Green there in Parliament might not have ‘only’ been banged up for nine hours. He might now be fielding questions about some burglaries or sexual assaults.

    This is what will happen. We know it will because it always happens when government has too much power.

    Crikey, doesn’t anyone ever learn? This bunch of evil filth told us repeatedly that ‘anti-terrorist’ laws will only be used against suspected terrorists! How many law-abiding people is it now who have been arrested and held under these same laws?

    Look, one reason why the Old Bill are now so useless at investigating crimes is due precisely to technology. They think they can sit back and wait for the lab guys to give them a DNA match.

    Therefore their investigatory skills and knowhow have deteriorated, something that’s well documented. It’s also why so may prosecutions collapse. These advances in technology have been a double-edged sword in this sense.

    As the technology makes life easier in some ways, so assumptions and laziness set in and craft and a culture of hard, dogged work is lost.

    Therefore, declining rates of prosecutions for all crimes.

    Forget about solving crimes, these are clear lies. The government intends to barcode everyone simply because it can and will increase the power of the State to bully and coerce us.

  16. Pete Moore

    Firstly, the police could easily fit someone up now using their DNA. It would only be necessary to get a swab from a comb or some such. And there is no evidence that the existing database has been abused in any case.

    Secondly, Green was not held under anti-terror laws. The law they used was passed in the 1880s or thereabouts.

  17. Frank

    Good point.

  18. I can see why conviction rates fall as DNA data goes up. I think it’s called the "CSI effect" here in the States. Juries now want scientific "proof" that the crime occurred.

  19. I was very pleased to see this ruling. It’s a shame that the Euro-weenies had to be the ones with some sense this time around, but what can you do?

    Grizz