Tue, 26 Feb 2008

ECHR hearing of UK DNA case

Tomorrow, on 2008-02-27, the Europen Court of Human Rights will be holding a Grand Chamber hearing in the case of S. and Michael Marper v. the United Kingdom.

Wednesday 27 February 2008: 9 a.m.

Grand Chamber

S. and Michael Marper v. the United Kingdom (nos. 30562/04 and 30566/04)

The applicants S. and Michael Marper, were born in 1989 and 1963. They are both British nationals who live in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

The case concerns the decision to continue storing fingerprints and DNA samples taken from the applicants after unsuccessful criminal proceedings against them were closed.

On 19 January 2001 S. was arrested and charged with attempted robbery. His fingerprints and DNA samples were taken. He was acquitted on 14 June 2001. Mr Marper was arrested on 13 March 2001, charged with harassing his partner. His fingerprints and DNA samples were also taken. The charges were dropped following reconciliation with his partner and the case against him was discontinued, also on 14 June 2001.

Both applicants unsuccessfully requested that their fingerprints and DNA samples be destroyed.

The applicants both complain about the retention of their fingerprints and DNA samples and the fact that they are being used in ongoing criminal investigations. They are also concerned about the possible future uses of those samples and, in general, that their retention casts suspicion on people who have been acquitted or discharged of crimes. They further contend that, as people without convictions who are no longer suspected criminals, they should be treated in the same way as the rest of the unconvicted population of the United Kingdom. They rely on Articles 8 (right to respect for private life) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the Convention.

The Chamber to which the case was assigned decided to relinquish jurisdiction to the Grand Chamber on 10 July 2007.

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