Big Brother Judge

While Scotland has stopped plans to include the innocent in its DNA database, a top judge has called for the entire UK population and all visitors to be put on the DNA database arguing it is a fairer system. It was recently revealed that the present England and Wales system has an estimated 550,000 errors (approximately one in eight of the total stored). In Northern Ireland over 1,000 people with no convictions are held on the database.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Even if I trusted the the technology to be 100% accurate and the goverment not to engage in mission creep (and neither of those is very likely) I’d still take issue with the small matter of this completely washing away the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

  • kensei

    FD, wasn’t part of the rational behind the Union to do with maintenance of civil liberties?

    Just you know, fuck. The judge’s rational is also priceless.

  • Pádraigín Drinan

    In Northern Ireland the database appears to be drawn up on the basis of information provided by the person whose DNA is being taken.

    I was in a Police Station with a young man who was accused of burglary. The police claimed that there was blood at the scene and in the area which matched his DNA and showed that he had cut himself breaking a window to get in to the house that had been burgled.

    The young man knew that he had never been near the area where the crime had taken plce. The police were quite confident that they could convict him on the basis of the DNA.

    Eventually in the interview the police disclosed when the event had taken place. The young man had been in Tunisia with his family on a holiday. His passport showed this.

    The police then accepted it could not have been him. I asked them how this could have happened.

    They told me that when they take a person’s DNA they ask their names, addresses and date of births. They then put that and the DNA information on the database.

    They said that in this case they must have had someone else in from whom they took samples for DNA and that that person had given the other young man’s information.

    If he had not been on a family holiday abroad and could prove it he might have had a lot of difficulty in showing that he did not commit the crime.

  • Gum

    Surprised that Sedley was the judge who advocated this. This is another potential massive attack on our liberty.

  • mnob

    Well a judge can recommend away but no politician would ever advocate this – its electoral suicide.

  • ND

    If he had not been on a family holiday abroad and could prove it he might have had a lot of difficulty in showing that he did not commit the crime.

    Posted by Pádraigín Drinan on Sep 05, 2007 @ 02:04 PM

    ———————

    No. Because his dna would have been taken when he was arrested and it would be different than the person who had previously given his details, also his fingerprints would be different.

    I don’t like it at all but I think it will come in eventually, although the first real battle ground will be with the unions when the police, army, firebrigade are asked for their dna.

  • Dec

    don’t like it at all but I think it will come in eventually, although the first real battle ground will be with the unions when the police, army, firebrigade are asked for their dna.

    The first and only battleground will be the logistics (nevermind cost) of taking DNA samples of 60+ million (unwilling) people. As Kensei says the Judge’s rationale is priceless:

    Problem: innocent people’s DNA on national database
    Solution: Lets get everyones on there

    The most pertinent question to ask him would be “What have you been sniffing?”

  • ND

    I hope you are right but they started by getting dna of people charged with an offence, then changed to taking it (by force if necessary) when people were arrested for an offence, which is a huge change without any real public comment.

    It is a fairly quick procedure to take the sample, i don’t know about the forensic analysis cost or process.

    My fear is that it will just gradually be introduced, eg if you work for the public services, or heaven forbid you need to use a public service.

  • Ranger1640

    Yet again another liberal judge whingeing, that there are some poor minorities that take up proportionately more of the places on the DNA database than the majority of us.

    Well boo hoo, forgive me my crocodile tears, but I could not care less if all minorities are on the DNA data base or who is on the DNA database. If they had not done something wrong then they would not be this statistic.

    However, if its proved that they are innocent then they should be removed from this database.

    So the issue is not that they are on the database it’s should they remain there after they have been proved innocent.

    How do we go about compiling this DNA database and who is everyone.

    Does this mean everyone or just the great unwashed PAYE persons of British society?

    The first people who should give their DNA, to set an example to us great unwashed should be the HM the Queen and all the other members of the royal family, the Prime Minister and his family then all the wasters in the cabinet and their families the hangers on in parliament and their families the senior civil service mandarins and their families, then all the judges their families the police and all their families.

    After all these ass holes have given of their blood then I may consider giving of my blood.

    The next question is who would pay for this asinine policy.

    No doubt the tax payer will foot the bill for this lode of balls. Then there will need to be a multi million pound computer system to put the data on and then another layer of government bureaucracy to cock the whole thing up. Then when we have had lodes of cases of miscarriages of justice the tax payer can pick up this tab as well.

    After all of the above we will get the government selling the information contained on the database to insurance companies, banks, employers, and any other ass hole that will pay the fee. Because the government see it as an easy way to make a few quid and then they can say they are cutting our taxes!

    What ever happened to this country? We used to be world leaders and innovators all we seem to get are politicians who are total ass holes. Judges who care more for the perpetrator of crime and the police who would rather act as tax men for the government by screwing the motorist and handing out fixed penalties than catching real criminals.

    Now who is to blame for all this, We the Great British Public, and do you know why we are to blame because we elect the ass holes to parliament. They then tell us what we want and we roll over like puppy dogs and get our belly tickled with a few imaginary tax cuts and we take no responsibility for the wasters and ass holes we put into power.

    How about we take control and we elect judges, senior police officers and politicians to do the bidding of the people now there is innovation. We can again be leaders in showing the world how we can deal with crime and society.

  • Rubicon

    Ranger1640

    Some of what you posted I could agree with – most of all the potential for abuse of a DNA database – but I couldn’t disagree more with:

    “If they had not done something wrong then they would not be this statistic.”
    “should they remain there after they have been proved innocent.”

    My concept of the justice system is that you are innocent until proven guilty. Certainly, suspects could have their identity checked against a database of convicted criminals but without a conviction nobody should not be entered on the database.

    “How about we take control and we elect judges, senior police officers and politicians to do the bidding of the people now there is innovation. We can again be leaders in showing the world how we can deal with crime and society.“

    Can’t agree with this either. Elected police officers and elected judges is the American way. It prioritises populism, the lynch mob and put justice in the back seat. Are you suggesting that the US is a model for justice that we need to follow?

    What is most alarming about all of this is that the state retains this database, extends it every day and has not asked the public’s permission for doing so.

    There is a fundamental principle here – is the state there to serve the people – or are we here to serve it? I’ll not be looking to the US and its practice of internment of Muslims and scanning of foreigners to advise here. The US defines its rights to do this through force – which it is able to do. What I won’t stomach is stuff like “leader of the free world” and few outside the US are going to be borrowing their sense of justice.

    To me – the US is in the Caligula phase of empire – its having a great time f*cking everyone. It’s no time to be marketing their sense of justice.

  • ND

    There was one case in Hertfordshire when a juvenile was arrested in a case of mistaken identity. The good news in this instance is that if your parents are middle class and willing to create a fuss/use the media you can make progress.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article717326.ece

    This government just ignore such concerns and will point to some incredible results.

    http://www.innocent.org.uk/cases/cardiff3_1/index.html

    The Lynette White case was already an important case on confessions before this guy was arrested and pleaded guilty based on DNA work that is incredible but also somehow threatening. What if we get to a stage were such matches are common place.

    The story may just be a plant, look out for story along the lines of “Only those working with kids/patients/protecting the country to give dna” and then they sell that to the public as a big compromise.

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes Rubicon that terrible American situation where a simple codified Bill of Rights for 220 years has set out very clearly the limits of government power. Frequently when the US government has overreached their limits of power the US Supreme Court has handed them an almighty smackdown. A place where policemen and judges are considered public servants and are actually held accountable to their employers for their performance (and where it might surprise you there is in fact no lynch law, where did you get that idea?).

    Let me tell you something the US government officials who tried to implement a mass DNA screening of the American population would very rapidly rediscover the experiance that the Redcoats enjoyed when they set out to Lexington to disarm the uppity colonials, very few of them returned unscathed back to Boston, the rest as they say is history.

    Christ we wouldn’t want to go down that dangerous road now would we? No much better we simply have unaccountable, unelected police chiefs and judges answerable to nobody but themselves and their political elites, disarm the entire population (well, except for the criminals and the government officials of course) DNA them all, hell maybe microchip them and tattoo a bar code when we’re at it, line them up and tell them they should form an orderly line for the showers. You know like oh so sophisticated Europeans are so fond of doing.

    When it comes to defending freedom and individual liberties I would take my chances with a stump toothed Applachian redneck and a well greased hunting rifle long before I would rely on oh so superior unelected judges and bureaucrats in Strasbourg. But knock yourself out big fella, if you believe that Europe in the past century has presented the world with marvellous examples of freedom from state oppression then go with it and enjoy the gulags, baa baaa baaa.

    (PS I believe there are something like 2 million muslim US citizens, to the best of my knowledge they enjoy the same liberties as their non-muslim fellow citizens. The enemy combatants detained in Guantanamo Bay are not there because of their religion I assure you. For someone who professes to know so much about the US you seem to be woefully uninformed about simple facts)

  • Rubicon

    Harry – enjoyed your post! Still smiling 😉

    See all these Chistians, Jews and agnostics banged up in Guantanamo – could you have a word with George – it’s fierce bad publicity. Once you let them go there’ll be nobody left and the PR disaster will end.

    Yeah, yeah – like hell! There’ll still be the same number “detained” there. Jesus – “detained” – like they’ve been delayed. Bollix.

    You’re right about European history. Plenty of countries here that went about taking libery and marketing it as a favour to the world. Can’t quite understand why you think this allows the US to be free to repeat the error.

    But – when it comes to genocide in the interest of the free market (otherwise known as “freedom” in US terms) the US left few witnesses. Where sre all those awkward red-skins who didn’t like having their land and life taken from them?

    Keep your sanctimony Harry – I don’t want it. The US uses its citizens as cannon fodder in the interests of capital. It did so in WW 2 and has been refining their game since.

    Europe has made its peace and the US has become an embarassment. Europe is far richer than the US – but doesn’t have the military might. The US can go about destroying democracies in Latin America and causing instability in the Middle East for only so long – and get from it a purpose for military contracts that finance presidential campaigns.

    Forgive me if I’m underwhelmed. Thanks for the loan after WW 2 – but we paid it back with interest. US freedom propaganda may be better understood by us thick Europeans if they’d stood against facism and totalitarianism before the Japanesse damaged a few of their boats. Instead the US stood back as the banker.

    Once the UK gets wise – the US is going to find itself in a lonely place. The message is simple. The US needs to respect human beings. The sympathy of the world after 9/11 the US has squandered.

    Nobody in Europe is denying the past and the inhumanity. It doesn’t seem the US has reached that point – despite a despicable history.

  • Harry Flashman

    Not quite sure where to start with that lot Rube.

    So what, are you opposed to the US role in the Second World War (“The US uses its citizens as cannon fodder in the interests of capital. It did so in WW 2”) or just wish they had got involved earlier (“US freedom propaganda may be better understood by us thick Europeans if they’d stood against facism and totalitarianism before the Japanesse damaged a few of their boats. Instead the US stood back as the banker.”)?

    By the way both fascism and totalitarianism were marvellous European ideas, the Americans figured liberal democracy was a better route.

    Yadda yadda Europe is richer than the US, bollox on stilts, yeah keep whistling in the dark there. The US is the only “western” nation with a sustainable birth rate, the populations of western Europe and Russia are failing to maintain even basic reproductive levels. Within less than a quarter of a century the population profile of Europe will be decrepit childless singletons living on a dwindling pyramid scheme of unsustainable pensions and welfare ‘entitlements’ dependent for their own day to day subsistance on a massive population of hostile unassimilated immigrants from third world, mainly islamic, societies.

    Not to worry I’m sure this calamitous future will be avoided by an effective Directive no. 2541/f/567 from those wunderkinds in Brussels and everything will be fine. Good luck with that.

    But hey, the United States may well some day retreat from its involvement with Europe, they might decide they’ve feather bedded Europe’s permanent adolesence (the half century long protection of western Europe and Marshall Aid was NOT a loan, and even if it were Europe could never afford to pay it back) and decide to concentrate on more relevant regions like Asia and leave Europe to stew in the mess it has created, but be careful what you wish for, Rubicon old boy, one day it might come true.

    Answer me this though, and to get back on topic, on past form and current trends which part of the world will succumb to ubiquitous CCTV surveillance, mandatory ID cards and universal DNA testing first, western Europe or the US? Given that large tracts of the EU are already halfway down that road I know where I’d place my money.

  • Rubicon

    Back on topic – my money would be on the US introducing it as “a mechanism to stop CC fraud”. Which country is already finger-printing “aliens” on entry? Granted, “your stump toothed Applachian redneck” may not play the game.

  • Wilde Rover

    But on the upside, the chocolate ration has been increased to 20g a week, so there’s really nothing to worry about.

  • Rubicon

    Do they have chocies in Guantanamo? Is this how Harry’s Appalacian lost his teeth?