Re Z (Children): FD 18 Jun 2014

The father, X, asserted that he was such, but refused to undergo a DNA test, and ‘The question arises in the most appalling circumstances: X murdered the children’s mother, in particularly horrible circumstances. He is serving a sentence of life imprisonment, with a long minimum term. Whatever role it might be thought that X should have in these children’s lives – a matter with which I am not concerned – the issue of his paternity goes also to the question of what role his wider family should have. ‘ The court was asked whether the DNA records held by the police could be used instead.
Held: There was no prohibition in respect of Part II DNA profiles. The court had a discretion to order the disclosure of DNA profiles obtained under Part II of PACE in order to assist the court in resolving a paternity issue which had arisen in these proceedings. Exercising the court’s discretion, The Commissioner should be ordered to disclose the profiles.
Munby P said: ‘Ms Broadfoot submits that a DNA sample or profile derived from a crime scene sample seized under Part II of PACE which has been matched to a DNA sample or profile taken under Part V of PACE may not be ordered to be disclosed for paternity purposes because the disclosure of the Part II sample would, as she puts it, involve the collateral (and prohibited) use of the Part V sample, in breach of section 63T. I agree with the proposition and the conclusion but it rests on an unspoken assumption which is at odds with what is sought in this case.
Ms Broadfoot says that crime scene samples and the profiles derived from them are of limited use on their own as they cannot identify any particular person. DNA, she says, only becomes significant for identification purposes once compared with that of a known person. She amplifies the point by postulating a case where samples at a crime scene produce 15 different DNA profiles. After 14 persons have been eliminated from the inquiry, the remaining man is convicted. A paternity issue arises and the guardian seeks the DNA profile from the crime scene relating to the convicted man. The only way, she says, the police can identify his DNA profile from the other 14 is by matching it to the Part V sample. This involves a use of the Part V sample (see section 63A(1)), which is not permitted for paternity purposes.
The short answer to all this, as Mr McCarthy points out, is that, whatever might be needed in another case, there is no need in this case to compare anything with a Part V sample, and that is not what he is proposing.
Evidence, entirely independent of any samples or DNA profiles, demonstrates that the blood at the crime scene in all probability includes both the mother’s blood and X’s blood. The unidentified DNA profiles obtained from those samples can, without reference to any other samples (whether obtained under Part V of PACE or, post mortem, from the mother’s body), be compared with the DNA samples obtained, pursuant to the order already made by Hogg J, from the children. If those unidentified DNA profiles identify two persons as being parents of the children, then that will, without more, establish X’s paternity. If those unidentified DNA profiles identify one person as being a parent of the children, then it will be necessary to compare the relevant profile with that obtained from the mother’s post mortem sample to establish whether it is hers or, by elimination, X’s.
Mr McCarthy submits that Ms Broadfoot’s submissions entirely miss the point of this application, which makes no reference to and is not in any way dependent upon any Part V sample. As he says, none of the examples given by Ms Broadfoot have anything to do with the factual basis upon which the guardian’s application is mounted. With brutal simplicity, he summarises his case as follows: The guardian’s case is simple. No reference is made to any Part V samples; no reference is made to any comparison with any Part V sample; no disclosure is sought of any Part V sample (or, I might add, anything derived from a Part V sample). Section 63T, he submits, does not apply.’

Sir James Munby P
[2014] EWHC 1999 (Fam)
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromX and Another v Z (Children) and Another CA 5-Feb-2015
The Court was asked as to the circumstances in which DNA profiles obtained by the police in exercise of their criminal law enforcement functions can, without the consent of the data subject, be put to uses which are remote from the field of criminal . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Police, Information

Updated: 04 December 2021; Ref: scu.526712