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It is not a breach of right to private life for Police to take DNA samples from former criminals for the investigation of crime

The applicant had been convicted previously of serious offences. At the time of his arrest, prosecution and conviction, it was not established practice for police to obtain and store DNA samples of offenders. In light of his previous convictions, police asked the applicant to provide a DNA sample. This sample was to be compared to other DNA material held by police in an attempt to make progress in unsolved cases. The applicant refused to provide a sample.

Police then sent a letter to the applicant, warning that he could be arrested if he did not provide such a sample. The applicant took judicial review proceedings, arguing the conduct of police infringed his rights under Article 8 of the Convention.

The Court held that the statistical probability that any one of the samples gathered would produce a match with the crime scene database was not determinative of the issue of proportionality. The Court also held that significant weight ought to be attached to the objective of detecting crime and therefore there was no breach of Article 8.

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Criminal Law