High Court rules innocent man’s DNA must be removed from database

As if the govenrment wasn’t in enough of a bind over the police National DNA databases, in a landmark┬áruling yesterday, the High Court of England and Wales has decided that the DNA of the innocent should not be on the database in the current legal circumstances. The man from County Durham was maliciously accused of assaulting a pupil at the school at which he was a teacher, and despite volunteering for questioning was arrested, fingerprinted and swabbed. These records were of course kept despite his innocence.

This story reminds us that being on the NDNAD is not an isolated thing, but part of a complex network of records that do imply suspicion (like it or not) – even Sir Alec Jeffreys, who pioneered DNA fingerprinting, thinks so… in the case of this teacher, he would have been wrongly suspected every time he applied for jobs working with children.

This is another indication that the government’s policy on the DNA database and police tactics to populate it, have been not just morally questionable but illegal, and confirms that the response issued this week was inadequate and devious. It will be interesting to see how they might now immediately have to modify their plans to conform to this new ruling (which, being a British court, they can hardly blame on ‘un-British’ European law)…