Thursday, 4 December 2008

Critical European Court judgement today

By the time I finish work today, we may have the judgement of the European Court on whether the State can take and retain DNA samples from innocent persons.

The arguments are more complex than might at first be imagined. A taste of the issues is available at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2002/1275.html. Amongst the rather chilling judicial views of the Lord Chief Justice sitting with LJJ Waller and Sedley is:
There is nothing in the Convention setting a ceiling on the level of respect, which a jurisdiction is entitled to extend to personal rights. In this jurisdiction I would not expect a court to necessarily follow the decision of the Commission in Reyntjens v Belgium (1992) 73 DR 136 that:

“….. The obligation to carry an identity card and to show it to the police when requested to do so does not as such constitute an interference in a person’s private life within the meaning of Article 8 of the Convention”. (Paragraph 23.)
Sedley added
I would certainly not assume that a comprehensive national DNA database or samples bank, if one were to be lawfully compiled, would constitute an unacceptable invasion of privacy. It would be for Parliament to decide whether the intrusion and surveillance involved in assembling and maintaining such a resource is an acceptable price to pay for its advantages. Certainly the information available to this court suggests that, subject to these considerations, a universal DNA register would be a real and worthwhile gain in the endeavour to ensure that the guilty, and only the guilty, are convicted of crimes. In other words, whether it is the unconvicted population as a whole whose bodily samples are kept or only that section of it which has faced charges, the justification is the same.
If the judgement goes against the appellants, as I fear it may, it opens the door for the government to require us not only to carry ID cards with our fingerprints and photograph but our DNA profile recorded on them.

A combination of this loathsome and morally bankrupt government with an amoral and corrupt civil service committed to expanding and cementing the power of the State could well bring this to pass. As the global crisis deepens, even the previously unthinkable becomes possible.

The Police have faced a minor check this week over the Damian Green fiasco, and more of our nation are now convinced beyond doubt that the Police, the civil service and the whole apparatus of the central State are in urgent need of reform, but a critical mass has not yet been achieved.

But let's wait and see what today brings.

6 comments:

Yokel said...

but a critical mass has not yet been achieved.

Alas, I fear that a critical mass will not be achieved until it is far too late to do anything about it.

In fact I begin to fear that it may already be too late. If I am correct, then now is about the time to start adopting Soviet style survival tactics:
* At every election, vote for our Dear Leader, and make sure every body knows that you did,
* Join a State sponsored Official Trades Union or Community Group, and play a prominent part in inflicting it on the sheeple,
* Be outrageously patriotic in purchasing only items made in the Peoples Republic of Eurabia, and flaunt them,
* Press the Law Giver to make pre-entry closed shops mandatory that the State may have better control over the lives of everyone.

Only then can we indulge in the luxury of rebelling behind the scenes.

Yokel said...

Sky says they have judgement in their favour! But Jackboots Jacqui says that existing law will remain in place while they try to find a way round it while they consider the judgement.

Why does it take the EU to be our saviour?

Blue Eyes said...

ECHR has nothing to do with the EU.

Umbongo said...

As Yokel notes, despite the 27 judges delivering a unanimous decision, our Jacqui is going to plough on regardless - for the time being at any rate. Even more depressing is that our courts had thrown out the plaintiffs' case with the chilling judgement partially set out by our host. In keeping with the importance the Court of Appeal considered the possible damage to civil liberties in this case it refused permission to appeal to the House of Lords.

In the Court of Appeal judgement Sedley LJ also said "what in my judgment makes the justification [for retaining fingerprints/DNA] sufficient is that those who have been accused but discharged are not necessarily on a par with those who have never been accused." Nice! So - according to the distinguished jurist and protector of our liberties - if you're found "not guilty" you're not really not guilty. After all, would the police ever get it wrong? Would the CPS really prosecute an innocent person?

Don't forget BTW, that after the CoA judgement Sedley went on to call publicly for everyone to be DNAed on the basis that the present system is "unfair to ethnic minorities". How come? Because, I suppose, these very same "ethnic minorities" have a higher rate of criminality (and thus fingerprint/DNA records) than the ethnic majority. It appears that next time you're up in front of Sedley, it wouldn't harm your case if you had a deep suntan.

Yokel said...

BE. I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Move to Scotland. Law there forbids the retention of innocent people's DNA and requires all DNA collected during an investigation to be destroyed at conclusion.