The DNA profiles of innocents held in the National DNA Database (NDNAD) are found, by the European Court of Human Rights, to be in violation of the right to respect for private and family life (article 8). About one in five of the more than five million DNA profiles will now have to go. The judgment of the Grand Chamber is final (article 44 in Protocol No 11) and the UK by being a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) undertakes to abide by the final judgment (article 46 in Protocol No 11).
125. In conclusion, the Court finds that the blanket and indiscriminate nature of the powers of retention of the fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles of persons suspected but not convicted of offences, as applied in the case of the present applicants, fails to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests and that the respondent State has overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard. Accordingly, the retention at issue constitutes a disproportionate interference with the applicants' right to respect for private life and cannot be regarded as necessary in a democratic society. This conclusion obviates the need for the Court to consider the applicants' criticism regarding the adequacy of certain particular safeguards, such as too broad an access to the personal data concerned and insufficient protection against the misuse or abuse of such data.
126. Accordingly, there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention in the present case.
This is a fantastic result after a seven year hard fought battle against the UK government. We are obviously delighted that the European Court of Human Rights found in our clients’ favour. It will be very interesting to see how the UK government respond. The government should now start destroying the DNA records of those people who are currently on the DNA database and who are innocent of any crime.
The decision - which will affect people aged ten or above who have been acquitted or had charges dropped following arrest in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - was welcomed by campaign groups involved in the case. [...]
"It is now up to the British people to stand up for their rights and demand strict rules to limit DNA retention", said Dr Wallace.
Home Office figures show that keeping DNA indefinitely from innocent people has not helped to solve more crimes.
We will study this judgment carefully and consider in detail implications which could have a profound impact on the way in which the police service makes use of DNA technology to protect the public and tackle crime.
The existing law would remain in place while ministers considered the judgment
I was interviewed earlier on by Andy Bell for Five News. It should be broadcast at 5pm and 7pm today as part a series of reactions to the ECHR judgement. [Update: the Five News programm will lead with another topic.] We discussed how I felt about the police taking and keeping my DNA, how difficult it was for me to get off the NDNAD and what I think about today's judgement.
This is a superb news for all the other innocents, including those who contacted me directly, desperate to get off the NDNAD. Now we're awaiting the practical details of when and how the DNA and fingerprint records of innocents already on the system will be destroyed.