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February 11, 2011

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Patrick

“If there had been the technology of today, his dna would have been taken and stored, once again without the need for a universal database.”
What you say above is right. In this case he could have been caught without a database as you say or he could have been caught with a Uni' database due to crime scene data.

However what you are overlooking are the countless cases in which the murderer is never caught.

In these cases the police do have crime scene data but without a universal database they will probably never solve the crime.

“So, no, I don't really have my own (presumably special) reasons for opposing it, I have the standard reasons based on protecting the rights of individuals which ultimately benefits every person in this country, especially the innocent.”

You repeatedly advocate the protection of individual’s rights but fail to see how you exclude those same rights to every murder victim and the families left behind.

So please educate me Huw exactly how not catching their daughter’s killer does not having a universal database ‘ultimately benefit’ her bereaved parents?

HuwOS

"Why not state what the issues are Huw rather than just say they exist?"

Because there are many, plenty of which have been mentioned before.

"I would of thought that if 'Trawling through data .....' resulted in murderers being brought to justice then it would be a cause of celebration."

Ah yes, only criminals have anything to fear and anyone who opposes is on the side of the same criminals and doesn't care about the victims of crime at all.

The same pathetic argument is trotted out every time laws overreach.

The same was trotted out to justify the shoot to kill policy of the metropolitan police, but of course it was to save lives
but it ended as it was always going to with the official killing of an innocent man, Jean Charles de Menezes.

So, no, I don't really have my own (presumably special) reasons for opposing it, I have the standard reasons based on protecting the rights of individuals which ultimately benefits every person in this country, especially the innocent.

HuwOS

"But it would have saved about 11 lives in the case of Sutcliffe alone...hey ho" - Patrick

You say that Patrick, but that is purely a wishful thinking scenario.
In reality, his first recorded attack brought the police to his door in 1969 and he admitted to the non fatal assault on a woman.
If there had been the technology of today, his dna would have been taken and stored, once again without the need for a universal database.

Ad

I have no problem with CCTV. It is no different to a policeman standing on a street corner. In fact it allows a greater alertness to criminal behaviour which will help a faster response to people in danger and provide evidence.

A widespread technological surveillance network could feasibly be implemented in the future which could impact on civil liberties but that would require innovations such as face recognition. CCTV is here already and it is not affecting our civil liberties.

A universal DNA database is another matter. It is not already here. It does have connotations of the state aquiring DNA information which could open up undesirable consequences. e.g. he or she is more likely to succeed or more likely to be a troublemaker and require pre-emptive interventions. Not to mention scenarios such as eugenicist type thinking.

I think it is only reasonable that people would not want to throw caution to the wind by walking into such a scheme despite the arguments in theory.

Paul Flynn

This has been an interesting thread. My views are exactly the same as Patrick's. DNA and CCTV are very useful crime detecting and deterring tools, that have worked well. I have no objection to having my DNA on file or being observed by CCTV cameras because I do not plan to commit any crimes and I welcome the protection that DNA and CCTV give.

Patrick

"There are serious issues with the concept and the law has a long history for good reason of not allowing trawling through data of any type on the offchance that you can link random people to crimes."

Why not state what the issues are Huw rather than just say they exist?

I would of thought that if 'Trawling through data .....' resulted in murderers being brought to justice then it would be a cause of celebration.

You obviously have your own reasons why this should not be the case.

Patrick

"A dna database will not be a panacea, it will not lead to all crime being solved, all rapists arrested, all murderers brought to justice."

But it would have saved about 11 lives in the case of Sutcliffe alone...hey ho.

HuwOS

"However the authorities are far more likely to release the wrongly convicted if the guilty person is identified and the crime solved."

That is an unjustified leap, Patrick but I can understand you wanting to get to your strongest argument, which is that a universal dna database could perhaps, solve more crimes.

Your constant repetitions however of claiming that everyone who disagrees with you based on many genuine concerns is putting a selfish agenda "ahead of the raped, robbed and murdered" is utterly obnoxious and on exactly and precisely the same level as "will no one think of the children" style "debate".
A dna database will not be a panacea, it will not lead to all crime being solved, all rapists arrested, all murderers brought to justice.
There are serious issues with the concept and the law has a long history for good reason of not allowing trawling through data of any type on the offchance that you can link random people to crimes.


patrick

“So, no universal database needed to get people released.”

In some cases you are right Huw. It depends on the available data. No-doubt there are people that could be and should be released without needing a universal database.
However the authorities are far more likely to release the wrongly convicted if the guilty person is identified and the crime solved.

In a nutshell my priorities are to solve crime, convict serious criminals and help to release wrongfully convicted innocent people.

Remember Peter Sutcliffe the killer of 13 women. With a national database he would have been caught following one maybe two deaths. He was only caught due to a road traffic offence. It is quite possible he could have gone on killing for years.

It’s incredible that some people put their own selfish agenda far above the interests of the raped, robbed, and murdered.

HuwOS

"If a National database was set-up then far more innocent people could be freed from jails" - Patrick

Sorry, Patrick but that just does not follow.
They need a sample of the wrongly convicted innocent person's dna, they have that, they have the person, so that part doesn't need a database.
They need any dna found on the crime scene to compare it to, they have that too without a universal database.
So, no universal database needed to get people released.

Patrick

“You were saying a dna database would get innocent people, wrongly convicted released from prison.”

Yes, by re-examining evidence of crimes sometimes decades earlier the people jailed at the time have been cleared.

My statement of - Opponents must realise that to deny a database would leave these people still locked up- means exactly what I said.

If a National database was set-up then far more innocent people could be freed from jails.

Both statements support a database .

HuwOS

You can't have it every which way Patrick

You were saying a dna database would get innocent people, wrongly convicted released from prison.

"Opponents must realise that to deny a database would leave these people still locked up."

So before you move on, are you now willing to acknowledge that having a universal database is an irrelevancy to getting wrongly convicted people released ?

Patrick

“We can have dna testing, comparing a suspects dna to that found at a crime scene without having a universal database or without keeping every innocent person who ever came under suspicion on the database.”

Let’s see how your system works.

A killer is at large in South Wales . Crime scene DNA has been taken but the police are unable to find a match. The police may never catch the killer through a DNA match because the killer must first be a suspect. This has often never happened (please see unsolved murders) .The killer is never caught.

For comparison

A killer is at large in South Wales. Crime scene DNA has been taken. The DNA national database has given the police a match and the killer is arrested.

As you are concerned about innocent people you might take some more interest in that of the murder victims families and the multiple innocent lives ruined by wrongful convictions.

By your system a killer that avoids ever having a DNA test remains at liberty to kill again. There are countless examples of unsolved murders.

Innocent lives have been taken.
Innocent families have their lives ruined.
Innocent people have been arrested.
The guilty avoid justice because civil rights campaigners don’t want a database.

Your priority is to dwell on what a potentially nasty state might possibly do with someones DNA.

My priority is to solve crime, release innocents, and catch killers as quickly as possible.

Whose side are you on?

HuwOS

Patrick your claim that a universal database would prevent people being wrongly convicted is simply not supported.
The people wrongly convicted you have referenced were wrongly convicted because there was no capability to do dna testing at all, when the capability came along and it was done, they were found to be innocent.
We can have dna testing, comparing a suspects dna to that found at a crime scene without having a universal database or without keeping every innocent person who ever came under suspicion on the database.

KayTie has not argued against dna testing, she is arguing about keeping the dna profiles of innocent people on file to trawl through anytime someone chooses and against expanding it to include everyone.

DNA testing is a useful tool and a powerful one, there will as you admit be errors, it will also be misused, there will be times full investigations won't be done, because the police believe they have their man/woman due to DNA evidence.


That is before we get into the slightly scary world of what happens when we get a society that believes we have identified genetic markers for other things believed to be unacceptable at that time.
Whether its a particular racial heritage, a likelihood of committing violent crime, being sexually abnormal by whatever definitions are being used, or perhaps in a positive way, a new version of blue blood, class and privilege.

Patrick

The fact is that through DNA based technology hundreds of people have been freed.

The point is if everyone was on a national database then it would make crime solving easy.Try asking anyone with half a brain?

Only somebody with imbecilic, paranoid , and selfish motives would fail to see the point that has been made to exhaustion.

Kay-Tie 19?? – 20??
Was a strong libertarian and civil rights campaigner.
She believed in freedom unless it involved having her fingerprints taken, DNA sampled or being inconvenienced by old trots. Innocent people on death row or murder victims were simply other people. Inscribed on the stone are the words
Licentia mihi –Freedom for me.

Kay Tie

Patrick, I cannot but conclude you are just plain dim: you keep citing stories of people proved innocent with DNA tests. None of them used a database. It's clear you have no idea of the details of how DNA testing works. This is a pointless conversation that is going in circles. Either educate yourself or just stop.

Patrick


'Even though there are a few cases of inaccuracies in DNA testing, overall it has proven to be an effective and accurate way to pinpoint evidence at crime scenes. Since the 1980s, more than 200 people have been exonerated from crimes they were innocent of, including some who have served extended sentences of 20 or more years'

The above paragraph was on a site discussing the accuracy of DNA evidence.

Surely we would all agree that over 200 innocent people (and ever increasing)having their liberty restored is a cause for triumph.

Opponents must realise that to deny a database would leave these people still locked up.

We all know the old system was to beat people to confession (like the Bhm 6).The old system jailed innocent simpleton's in murder trials to help the police.

I would rather a system 99% scientifically accurate.A system that releases innocent people and identifies killers before they strike again.A system that is 'out there' for full scrutiny rather than police evidence.

Yes Huw statistically mistakes will always be made regardless of the system but this will be nothing like the abuse of power of recent generations.

HuwOS

You'd have to admit patrick, that someone who confessed to the crime to anyone and everyone they could before the trial, probably had some hand in bringing about the miscarriage of justice themselves.

And the problem with the court case and for example the convictions of the Birmingham six et al are the way the police and justice system tend to look for the easiest answers and the easiest way to do things.
The DNA database will be no different other than having an even stronger appearance of credibility, making it even less easy to challenge when it is wrong.
If everyone was on a dna database, the number of false matches would be unacceptably high, and lead to different miscarriages of justice.

Easy tools are easily misused and just like the moment the shoot to kill order was made in the cause of anti-terrorism in London, some innocent was definitely going to be shot, a dna database of everyone would be misused.

patrick

Thought i'd throw a British one in for good measure.

Uk man freed after 27 years through DNA.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/260464,british-man-freed-on-dna-evidence-after-27-years-in.html

If left to the likes of you this example plus an ever-growing number of people would still be in jail.

patrick

Kay-Tie
“All these things are there to protect innocent people. Even if criminals go free. Please understand this.”

= more rot

If you even gave the remotest flying fig about innocent people you would applaud the following. Your real interest lies in yourself, your own civil liberties, and ‘how dare anybody tell me what to do.’

James Bain has spent the majority of his life in prison. He was just nineteen when he was wrongly convicted of rape and kidnapping. He was finally released on December 17th, 2009, and was honored this week by the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Non-Violence.

http://cltlblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/dna-testing-frees-innocent-man-after-35-years/


Texas leads the nation in the number of wrongly convicted inmates, having freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA testing since 2001.

http://open.salon.com/blog/christopher_valen/2011/01/05/dna_frees_another_innocent_man


Michael Anthony Green Of Texas, Exonerated Of Rape By DNA Evidence, Free After 27 Years In Prison
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/30/michael-anthony-green-freed-dna-evidence_n_666011.html

Countless more links but I think I’ve made my point. Innocent people freed due to DNA evidence.

Kay Tie

"Very often i can't follow what you say but "No, Patrick, it's not" really does the business."

OK, I'll explain again: we don't allow unchecked powers to the police just so they can nick a few more criminals. We presume people to be innocent, even if that lets criminals get away. We require the police to have reasonable suspicion to stop someone, even though a roadblock where all were asked for papers would catch some criminals. We have rules of evidence that don't allow the police to break into homes and seize computers whenever they like even if it means letting criminals go free.

All these things are there to protect innocent people. Even if criminals go free. Please understand this.

patrick

You have really put forth a powerful case there Kay-Tie.

It must be difficult for you to put your points over in view of everyone else’s intellectual deficiencies.

A bit like telling a 2 year old a story where you change many of the words. Very often i can't follow what you say but "No, Patrick, it's not" really does the business.


Kay Tie

"Is it not more appropriate to use the most powerful tools at our disposal to fight real crime?"

No, Patrick, it's not.

patrick

An example of how DNA is used as a powerful tool to catch killers.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1579464/Call-for-DNA-database-after-Mark-Dixie-jailed.html

Opponents to a database use their imaginations to tell us what supposed nasty officials might do with our information.

Is it not more appropriate to use the most powerful tools at our disposal to fight real crime?

Kay Tie

"I simply put forward the option to give an example of how effective it would be. Sorry to confuse you it's known as a hypothesis."

You didn't say that in any way. You followed up to a comment about the DNA database. I'm sorry if we're unable to look inside your mind and guess what you're thinking.

Kay Tie

"It’s amazing how some folks civil liberties are so much more important to them than either the release of innocents from jails or the police being able to arrest serious offenders."

I'd have thought that you'd know this to be true from the very position of "innocent until proven guilty". Lots of guilty people go free from the courts in order than innocent people are unlikely to go to jail. It's what we choose as the hallmark of a civilised society. Only in despotic regimes do they "round up the usual suspects".

I'd also like to know why you think a database of DNA can free innocent people: this has happened in the past not through a database, but through someone bothering to compare crime scene DNA with the convicted person. Again, you really need to think things through logically Patrick, and stop making wild assertions.

Kay Tie

Huw, there were so many layers of sarcasm in that post, I got lost.

Ad

You have to aknowledge though that if people do not want their DNA on a database it should be respected. There is also the fact that the previous government wanted to introduce ID cards which is a widely unpopular idea. As Huw says there are all sorts of ideas which are possible. Don't forget ID cards were supposedly for prevention of terrorism and ID fraud but the other implications for civil liberties made them unpopular.

The difficulty I have Patrick is where you talk about a DNA database as an opportunity to release the wrongfully convicted. The only way (and I believe there are such instances) is if a previously suspected person is found to have important DNA links to a crime, whereas there are none for the wrongly convicted prisoner.

I think such instances would could to light through appeals. e.g. crimes committed before DNA gathering was used as evidence. Does this require a DNA dabatase of everybody?

Patrick

It’s amazing how some folks civil liberties are so much more important to them than either the release of innocents from jails or the police being able to arrest serious offenders.

HuwOS

Be reasonable KayTie, lots of crime could be prevented with the database.

In fact, we could go further, once we know what genetics dispose people to be paedophiles we can identify them at birth, and put them on a watch list, or save the trouble and just keep them away from ordinary decent people for life.


Likewise other criminals, like rapists and murderers, of course everyone should have their fingerprints taken as fingerprints are often at the scene of a crime but unless someone has already been fingerprinted then having the scene of crime fingerprints doesn't help immediately.

Bits of clothing or left behind jewellry can also be valuable evidence, we should all keep a list of our wardrobes and provide a sample of each article of clothing for a database, which would be very useful for identifying who may have been at the scene of a crime.

If only all movement was monitored then we could easily track down the most likely perpetrator, this would also help to avoid persons ever going missing.

Who wants to be the person who by not implementing all the above allows a killer to keep killing, or a lost child to remain lost.

Honestly KayTie, you're so seldom right that it is a terrible shame that when you are it isn't recognised.

patrick

"That was never an option. Not even in Labour's approach to freedom. The new Bill rolls back Labour's approach"

I simply put forward the option to give an example of how effective it would be. Sorry to confuse you it's known as a hypothesis.

The predictable and usual Kay-Tie tactic. When your losing an argument diversify with playground insults.


Kay Tie

"If the DNA database included everybody"

That was never an option. Not even in Labour's approach to freedom. The new Bill rolls back Labour's approach.

"It’s crystal clear that the database solves crime"

I'm not sure what you mean by "the database". The actual one now, the trimmed back one after the Bill, or the fantasy one in your head?

"It’s just as clear that your opposition obstructs the law, costs lives, and protects killers."

Thank you for that. You will be sure to stack away your fees for writing Daily Mail headlines because you won't be on their staff for that long.

Just because you are incapable of imagining the things that could go wrong with the database (the one in your head or the actual one) - not least a touching faith in its infallibility - does not mean that they do not exist.

I suggest you give up with your pop science view of things and either take the time to study it in some depth and acquire knowledge to inform your views or just accept that you don't know enough to hold a valid view.

Patrick

I’ll try and spell it out again for you Kay Tie.

Forensic scientists investigate a murder and find evidence at the crime scene.
DNA samples are taken. If the DNA database included everybody then the people involved at the crime scene could be identified very quickly.


The world according to Kay Tie

The killer (that is not on a database as this would have breached his/her rights) continues killing. The killer is totally innocent until which time he/she is convicted of any crime. It is only then (if ever) that the killer is convicted of murders.

It’s crystal clear that the database solves crime (past and present) and saves lives.It revisits crimes, releases innocents and convicts the guilty.

It’s just as clear that your opposition obstructs the law, costs lives, and protects killers.

Kay Tie

"The criminal continues killing"

The only time this makes a difference is when the murderer was on the database, was deleted, THEN murders someone for the first time, isn't caught, murders AGAIN, and then is arrested, and the DNA is matched.

I'm not aware of any cases that fit that profile. As I said earlier, you need to think this through carefully and not jump to conclusions. The ECHR did think this through, and our politicians are incapable of doing so or allowing themselves to do so.

Paul Flynn

There appears to a notion that the world is divided into the innocent and the criminal. All criminals start out as innocents.

patrick

"You need a crime scene DNA database (something to which no-one objects) and the regular testing of people when they are arrested: there is no need to retain the DNA of the arrestees to do this."

Let's say we had another Yorkshire ripper.

With method One (everyone was on a database) data would be collected at the crimescene and the criminal would be identified quickly.

Method Two (database consisting of known criminals) the criminal would carry on killing until such time as he/she was caught committing a crime and DNA taken.
This may never happen.

Method One saves lives and catches the killer as we already have his/her DNA match.

Method Two , although the police have crimescene DNA they may never be able to match it to the criminal. The criminal continues killing.

patrick

‘Reducing the database to the crimescene ‘

Innocent people that have spent years being punished have been liberated by the database.

We are now witnessing the regular exchange of ‘innocent’ people that have evaded justice with the wrongly convicted.

Without the database this would not be possible.

Kay Tie

"What sane person could possibly argue with that?"

Indeed. And I don't. But here's the thing: you don't need a database of suspects DNA to do what you've just talked about. You need a crime scene DNA database (something to which no-one objects) and the regular testing of people when they are arrested: there is no need to retain the DNA of the arrestees to do this.

I know it's not obvious and that you have to think about this a bit. I've tried several times to explain it to Paul Flynn to no avail. I think he's blind to reason on this topic.

patrick

"As far as I'm aware there is no evidence that the DNA database deterred any serious crime. It's only use was solving it after the event."

Maybe we should add other uses such as giving liberty back to wrongfully convicted people on a regular basis.

Perhaps we could also add the fact that through the databases we have convicted the real criminals that had evaded justice.

By re-examining cases sometimes decades later DNA has put criminals behind bars and allowed innocent people out.

What sane person could possibly argue with that?

Kay Tie

"Wait until another pedophile case happens and the perpetrator escaped te register."

These are what are known as Labour's Landmines: planted on the statute book to leave the incoming government forced to clear up the mess but risk them exploding and causing casualties.

It's been used for years in America: the case of Willie Horton used to destroy Dukakis's presidential candidacy. The modern Labour Party is certainly not above these gutter tactics. And you would no doubt support them based on the ends (of undermining Tories) justifying the means (playing games with people's lives).

Paul Flynn

It never made any sense except in terns of tabloid hysteria to compare restrictions on freedom here compare to most countries in the world. Even after Blair the UK is still among the most free 30 countries in the world.
Wait until another pedophile case happens and the perpetrator escaped te register. What consolation is there in having DNA samples destroyed if the NHS is wreaked as well?

demosthenes

"Will the dominos of other tyrannies fall?"

Let's not forget that May 2010 was a very good start


valleylad

I'm with KayTie on this one. I despised the previous govt for 2 reasons; their economic policies and their wholesale destruction of civil liberties. Economic policy isn't changing since it appears little separates Zanu-labour and the Tories, but thank god we're getting some balance on liberty back. If this govt repeals almost all of Blairs criminal justice legislation they are doing the country a favour.

As far as I'm aware there is no evidence that the DNA database deterred any serious crime. It's only use was solving it after the event. The previous situation in the UK was wrong - maybe previous Zanu-labour home secretries lacked the bottle to argue for a universal database (or perhaps just hoped to stealthily impose one via ID cards) but either that, or just serious convicts are the only fair alternatives.

Gerald

"Real freedom is born in Cairo."
Paul as I understand it, the President has resigned, the Cabinet sacked and Parliament has been disolved and ALL replaced by a Military Council.
If that is your definition of 'freedom' I'd love to hear your definition of 'dictatorship', benign or malignant.
All that has happened, so far, is that an elderly politician who had convinced himself that his country couldn't survive without him was finally confronted by the military and told that he had reached his 'Helicopter moment' and had to go.

Kay Tie

Ad, the arguments are subtle. It's not that these tools are oppressing per se, but that they are trusted too much and being applied too widely. The police keep ANPR records forever: why? There is no practical need, and there has been no public debate.

Labour loved these databases because they provided lovely groundwork from which to exert control (universal ID cards were planned to revoke alcohol-buying "permission" for those deemed guilty of "inappropriate" behaviour).

Watching Labour politicians squeal about journalists listening to their voicemails is most amusing: only when it happens to them do they give a toss about the loss of privacy and the downside of surveillance.

Paul Flynn

No, KayTie, I was against ID cards because they were too expensive and unnecessary. Neurotics were frightened. They always are. This is a 'babies and bathwater' bill which the country will regret.

Ad

DNA databases and CCTV are certainly worthwhile. Many people buy into the idea that it is oppressive or undermining freedoms. The reality is that these are hugely important tools in terms of identification which not everyone will have cause to appreciate.

Kay Tie

"Nine million people considered for the sex offenders register is a tad excessive. "

A 'tad'. Very droll.

Your record on liberty is questionable: you refuse to see the dangers of ID cards, of the ANPR system, of the DNA database. You are the very grist that Tony Blair used to grind the justice system down in the bad years. So forgive me for discounting your observations on the Freedom Bill: it's a welcome piece of legislation that's long overdue.

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