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European Court of Human Rights, DNA rebuke

How ironic that British subjects have had to turn to the European Courts to protect their liberty and privacy, rather than being able to rely on our own laws. If this does not demonstrate just how far this control obsessed government has gone to destroy the rights and civil liberties of the people of this country, then nothing will.

The case was brought by two men who had their DNA profile and fingerprints taken when they were charged with an offence. One had his charges dropped and the other was acquitted, yet in spite of this, the South Yorkshire Police, supported by the government, refused to destroy the DNA profile and fingerprints. Under existing laws, 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. This is not the case in Scotland where records are destroyed. 

Now, in what turned out to be a unanimous decision of 17 judges sitting in Strasbourg, the Grand Chamber Judgment ruled that the action of the police was violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which is the ‘right to respect for private and family life‘. In fact, the Court went further, stating that the retention of this information could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society and they had been struck by the indiscriminate nature of the power of detention in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This amounts to a direct rebuke of the British government. Needless to say Jacqui Smith who has spent a great deal of public money defending the governments position, is “disappointed”, with the outcome. Just who the hell does she think she is, I thought she said that no-one was above the law.?

I do not doubt that DNA profiling is a useful tool in the fight against crime, however, there are other civil liberty concerns that should have been considered. This government has ignored any civil liberty and right to privacy issues by introducing legislation that allows DNA profiles to be retained irrespective of whether the people involved have been convicted of an offence. This is an affront to the people of this country and it has taken the European Court to uphold our rights by applying an equal measure of commonsense and existing human rights laws to come to a judgement.

What a pity this government could not have done the same. In part, we are at fault, because so many people fall, hook line and sinker, everytime the government come out with a line as to why they need to bring in new, draconian laws, believing it will never affect majority of us. Well that is simply not true. Once you discard our right to liberty, privacy and freedom, you deny us virtually everything, given it is but a short step to a police state. Take the Damian Green affair, the opposition parties never thought that the laws which they allowed this government to pass would come back and bite them in the backside, they thought it just affected the plebs! The police and security services in this country have unprecedented powers for a democratic country.

This government, as arrogant as ever, has insisted that the existing laws will remain in place whilst they consider the judgement. What? They have just been rebuked by 17 judges, from across Europe and they still insist that they are right. Does the arrogance of Jacqui Smith and the New Labour government know no bounds? A European Court has ruled that this government has not acted reasonably having failed to get the balance between the public interest and that of the private individual. In fact they noted in their judgement that England, Wales and Northern Ireland appear to be the only countries in the European Union that allow the indefinite retention of DNA profiles. Further, that in effect, this government has not applied any commonsense, nor have they considered the European Charter prior to drafting the legislation. Surely a competent government would not have drafted laws in this country without considering how they would impact on European Human Rights legislation? Unless of course, they couldn’t give a toss, believing that we are all so stupid that we will accept whatever is thrown at us, only realising that we have lost when it is too late to do anything about it.

I would like to see one of the major parties take up civil liberty issues and try and redress the balance between state and individual, because as far as I can see, we are sleep-walking into a police state, where civil liberties, freedom and a right to privacy is disregarded by a government with a phobia for control, a penchant for bullying and delusional self-gratification. No wonder they spend so much time in from of mirrors!

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Neil Says:

    Excellent post on a subject with some very serious implications. You’re so right about how ironic it is to see Europe now having to defend our rights from our own government. Quite a sobering thought, really.

  2. CJ Says:

    Oh, ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Frustrated Voter Says:

    @ Neil: Thanks for your comments. Lets hope it is the start of things to come

    @ CJ: It was interesting to note that a constitutional spokeman said last night that whatever Jacqui Smiths views are, the government must make the necessary changes by March 2008.

  4. CJ Says:

    What this government, like no other before it, has tried (and is still trying) to do is to fix the ID, location, and activities of ALL it’s citizens so they can be tracked, taxed and controlled anywhere, anytime and for whatever purpose suits them.

    They further control everyone by keeping them running scared about often fictitious dangers and extremely unlikely scenarios.

    Welcome to the UK under New Labour: the most complete use anywhere of George Orwell’s blueprint for a modern dictatorship controlled Britain – “1984” – where there are more spy cameras, greater surveillance and stricter control than there ever was in the old East Germany!

  5. Charlie Says:

    I think the Government will just change the law so that records are destroyed after a certain amount of time, if the person is not found guilty, making most of the fact that as the data is digital, which makes it pretty much impossible to destroy the information. If nothing else the records will still be in backups, in auxiliary databases and floating around the ether.

    They’ll have everyone’s information stored somewhere, one way or another, just perhaps not in the DNA database.

  6. British Politics Says:

    If one the European Court will protect our civil liberties, then there is an argument that more and more people will start to see the EU in a different light. Not sure what is worst!

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