S and Marper v United Kingdom

  • Created by: channyx
  • Created on: 20-03-20 20:51


The blanket and indiscriminate nature of the powers of retention of the fingerprint and DNA material of any person suspected but not convicted of a criminal offence was a disproportionate interference with the person's right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society.

The applicants (S and M) complained that the retention by the authorities of their fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles after criminal proceedings against them had respectively resulted in acquittal or been discontinued violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.8.

S and M had both had their fingerprints and DNA samples taken after S had been arrested and charged with attempted robbery and M was charged with harassment of his partner. S was subsequently acquitted and the proceedings against M were discontinued. Each applicant asked for his fingerprints and DNA samples to be destroyed, but in each case the police refused. S and M applied unsuccessfully for judicial review and their appeals to the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords were dismissed, upholding complaint from R. (on the application of S) v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire [2004].

S and M submitted that

(1) the retention of their fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles interfered with their right to respect for private life as they were crucially linked to their individual identity and concerned a type of personal information that they were entitled to keep within their control;

(2) the retention of fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles were not justified under art.8 because the purposes for which the retention could be justified were vague and open to abuse. They further maintained that the…


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