Regina (on the application of S) v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Regina (Marper) v Same: CA 12 Sep 2002

The applicants had been charged with offences, but later acquitted. On arrest they had had DNA samples and fingerprints taken, and the details added to the national DNA database. The police refused to remove the records after the acquittals.
Held: The appeals failed. The refusal to remove the records was not an infringement of a right of privacy. How it affected an individual might be a matter of his cultural background. The uses to which the DNA could be put closely matched the section. The presumption of innocence did not provide any protection against being investigated when suspected of crime. No adverse consequences could flow from the data being held unless the applicant committed a crime. The difference in treatment as against persons who had not been suspected of crime was justified.
Waller LJ said: ‘fingerprints and DNA profiles reveal only limited personal information. The physical samples potentially contain very much greater and more personal and detailed information. The anxiety is that science may one day enable analysis of samples to go so far as to obtain information in relation to an individual’s propensity to commit certain crime and be used for that purpose within the language of the present section [Section 82 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001]. It might also be said that the law might be changed in order to allow the samples to be used for purposes other than those identified by the section. It might also be said that while samples are retained there is even now a risk that they will be used in a way that the law does not allow. So, it is said, the aims could be achieved in a less restrictive manner . . Why cannot the aim be achieved by retention of the profiles without retention of the samples?
The answer to [these] points is as I see it as follows. First the retention of samples permits (a) the checking of the integrity and future utility of the DNA database system; (b) a reanalysis for the upgrading of DNA profiles where new technology can improve the discriminating power of the DNA matching process; (c) reanalysis and thus an ability to extract other DNA markers and thus offer benefits in terms of speed, sensitivity and cost of searches of the database; (d) further analysis in investigations of alleged miscarriages of justice; and (e) further analysis so as to be able to identify any analytical or process errors. It is these benefits which must be balanced against the risks identified by Liberty. In relation to those risks, the position in any event is first that any change in the law will have to be itself Convention compliant; second any change in practice would have to be Convention compliant; and third unlawfulness must not be assumed. In my view thus the risks identified are not great, and such as they are they are outweighed by the benefits in achieving the aim of prosecuting and preventing crime.’
Lord Justice Sedley considered that the power of a chief constable to destroy data which he would ordinarily retain had to be exercised in every case, however rare such cases might be, where he or she was satisfied on conscientious consideration that the individual was free of any taint of suspicion. He also noted that the difference between the retention of samples and DNA profiles was that the retention of samples would enable more information to be derived than had previously been possible.
Lord Woolf, Waller LJ, Sedley LJ
Times 03-Oct-2002, Gazette 17-Oct-2002, [2002] EWCA Civ 1275, [2003] 1 All ER 148, [2002] All ER (D) 62, [2002] NLJR 1483, [2002] 1 WLR 3223, [2002] 40 LS Gaz R 32, [2003] Crim LR 39
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights Art 8.1 Art 14, Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 64
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromRegina (S) v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire; Regina (Marper) v Same Admn 22-Mar-2002
The police authority took samples of DNA and fingerprints from the claimants whilst under arrest. After their cases had been dismissed or failed, they requested destruction of the samples and records, but this was refused.
Held: There was no . .
CitedReyntjens v Belgium ECHR 1992
(Commission) ‘. . The obligation to carry an identity card and to show it to the police when requested to do so does not as such constitute an interference in a person’s private life within the meaning of Article 8 of the Convention’. . .
CitedRegina v B (Attorney-General’s Reference No 3 of 1999); Regina v Weir CACD 26-May-2000
Where a defendant gave a sample of DNA during an investigation, but the sample was not destroyed on his acquittal, evidence obtained from a cross match relating to a different crime was not admissible. The statute requires the samples to be . .
CitedGeitling Ruhrkohlen-Verkaufsgesellschaft and Others v ECSC High Authority ECJ 20-Mar-1957
ECJ Article 34 of the treaty is no bar to the admissibility of an application for annulment against an isolated provision of a decision as a whole, because an annulling judgment does not anticipate the measures . .
CitedBritish Oxygen Co Ltd v Board of Trade HL 15-Jul-1970
Cylinders containing hydrogen gas were being put on a trailer pulled by a tractor for the purpose of delivery to the premises of the purchaser. One of the issues before the court was whether the function of the hydrogen trailers and the cylinders . .

Cited by:
Appealed toRegina (S) v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire; Regina (Marper) v Same Admn 22-Mar-2002
The police authority took samples of DNA and fingerprints from the claimants whilst under arrest. After their cases had been dismissed or failed, they requested destruction of the samples and records, but this was refused.
Held: There was no . .
Appeal fromS, Regina (on Application of) v South Yorkshire Police; Regina v Chief Constable of Yorkshire Police ex parte Marper HL 22-Jul-2004
Police Retention of Suspects DNA and Fingerprints
The claimants complained that their fingerprints and DNA records taken on arrest had been retained after discharge before trial, saying the retention of the samples infringed their right to private life.
Held: The parts of DNA used for testing . .
At Court of AppealMarper v United Kingdom; S v United Kingdom ECHR 16-Jan-2007
Decision as to admissibility – the applicants complained of the retention by police of DNA and fingerprint samples and records.
Held: Admissible. . .
At Court of AppealMarper v United Kingdom; S v United Kingdom ECHR 27-Feb-2008
Grand Chamber – Press Release – The applicant complained of the retention by the police of DNA and fingerprint records – The applicants both complain about the retention of their fingerprints and DNA samples and the fact that they are being used in . .
At Court of AppealMarper v United Kingdom; S v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Dec-2008
(Grand Chamber) The applicants complained that on being arrested on suspicion of offences, samples of their DNA had been taken, but then despite being released without conviction, the samples had retained on the Police database.
Held: . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 14 February 2021; Ref: scu.177313