Judicial Review of Metropolitan Police – DNA and fingerprints

Challenge to retention of DNA samples and fingerprints.

Bhatia Best Ltd is instructed on behalf of GC in judicial review proceedings against the Metropolitan Police (“MET”) to challenge its decision to retain historical material and DNA samples taken by the police on arrest.

GC’s case is that the retention of his DNA information, fingerprints and custody photograph taken and retained in 1992 (over 22 years ago) is in breach of his Article 8(1) right to a private life. In proceedings against the MET, the police have adopted a blanket, uniform approach to retain all DNA information held at the time section 25 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into force on 31st October 2013, which requires the State to provide a mechanism for the destruction or retention of samples. This MET’s decision pays no regard to the age of the particular individual, the circumstances surrounding the receipt of the conviction, the length of time that has elapsed since that conviction and the seriousness of the offence for which the individual was convicted.

The MET in proceedings appear to have no mechanism, by which someone such as this claimant, can apply now, or in the future, to have his information deleted.  Consequently it is argued by GC that the retention of personal information by the State is disproportionate to the legitimate aim sought by the legislation, namely the prevention of crime and retention cannot be justified and is in violation of the his Article 8 rights.

The case is listed for a permission hearing at the Royal Court’s of Justice on 4th April 2014

GC is no stranger to challenging the State’s right to retain samples on an indefinite basis.  In 2011 he was successful in the Supreme Court in the case of  R (GC) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] 1 WLR 1230.  In that case the Court made a declaration that guidelines, by which the claimant’s information was retained, were unlawful and in breach of Article 8.  Following the judgment the State was required to review retention and introduce a scheme for the review and deletion of material in a way which complies with its obligations under Article 8.  This latest case now challenges the MET’s policy, following the newly introduced provisions of PoFA for the indefinite retention of all samples taken for individuals convicted of a recordable offence.

Bhatia Best has a specialist Public Law Team experienced in this area to advise potential clients of their rights relating to the retention and destruction of historical DNA samples.

Legal Aid is available for clients that are in receipt of benefits or a low income.

For advice and assistance on any aspect of the changes and how they might apply to the individual circumstances of a case please feel free to contact Stuart Luke or the Public Law Team at Bhatia Best on 0115 9503231 or email stuart.luke@bhatiabest.co.uk