Thursday, December 04, 2008

UK: DNA 'Innocents' Must Be Wiped After Landmark Human Rights Ruling

Christopher Hope and Tom Whitehead write in The Telegraph:

The European Court of Human Rights ruled retaining the samples of those who were acquitted of crimes or never charged with them breached their human rights in test case brought by two Sheffield men.

It means the DNA profiles of around 850,000 innocent people could have to be removed while a similar number of individuals' prints could have to be taken off the national fingerprint database.

The ruling has grave consequences for a key weapon in police investigations and the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said she was "disappointed" with the decision.

The Home Office now has until March to respond to the ruling but experts said it was likely to abide by it to avoid hundreds of thousands of challenges in the courts.

One likely option is to set a time limit after which samples are removed, similar to schemes run in other countries, including Scotland.

More here.


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