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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Half guilty not innocent

Anybody who reads this blog on a regular basis will know that I have a strong interest in civil liberties issues and that for this reason I have opposed ID cards from the start. I have also had huge concerns about the retention of the DNA records of innocent people. It is a interest shared by Cardiff Central Liberal Democrat MP, Jenny Willott, who has proved to be a tenacious and principled campaigner on these issues.

In this morning's Western Mail, Jenny quite rightly claims that the latest Government plans to store innocent people’s data for six years will allow police to label them “half guilty”. The Home Office is proposing that adults who are arrested but not convicted of a serious crime will have their profiles held for six years on the database.

Jenny says: “The Government is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. These proposals will allow the police to label anyone cautioned, warned or arrested as ‘half guilty’ even if they are later found to be innocent.

“This changes the founding pillar of our criminal justice system; that you are innocent until proven guilty. The Government has no right to do this.”

She points out that this latest package of reforms is more or less identical to those that were criticised by DNA experts and thrown out by the House of Lords only a month ago:

“The proposals to keep innocent children on the DNA database for up to six years are frankly appalling.

“There is absolutely no reason why we can’t have the same system that exists in Scotland. I sincerely hope that these proposals get the mangling they deserve when the Government tries to force them through Parliament.”

Jenny is totally right. The fight that she and our party have put up to protect civil liberties against a centralising and authoritarian Labour Government is a persuasive rebuttal to those who question what the Liberal Democrats are for.


I have little concern while totally agreeing with the thrust of this. Jenny makes no mention of DNA records collected - so that people can be eliminated from enquiries - people who offer their DNA in a public spirited way to help the police detect crime by elimination. These should be deleted immediately after the DNA donor is eliminated from the search for which the DNA was collected - but I don't think it is - or am I wrong?
The time is coming when we can vote, after 40 odd years of being Labour I have decided to make a change, possible after Browns speech to day on immigration, I might well vote BNP just for the fun of it.

I really have given up.
Well Robert, if enough of you vote BNP just for the fun of it, I hope you all stay here to see what you'll have done.
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