Gordon Brown's claim that the murder of Croydon teenager Sally Anne Bowman would have gone unsolved under Tory proposals to overhaul the DNA database were yesterday dismissed as "election fever" by civil liberties groups.
The prime minister accused the Tories of abandoning their traditional tough stance on crime by saying they would put an end to the indefinite retention of DNA profiles of people arrested but not convicted for violent disorder and remove the bulk of the records of innocent people.
He cited Bowman's murder in 2005 as an example of a crime solved using Labour's comprehensive DNA database – but Human Rights group Liberty said her killer, Mark Dixie, was caught because his DNA had been matched after it was taken over a violent assault in 2006.
Bowman, a 19-year-old aspiring model, was murdered in the driveway of her Croydon home. Dixie was convicted in 2008 on the basis of DNA evidence which also cleared her boyfriend, who dropped her off moments before she was killed.Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "Election fever seems to be confusing the debate about DNA retention. It has been suggested that the tragic case of Sally Anne Bowman was only solved because her murderer was 'an innocent' on the database. In fact, he was arrested for a separate violent offence and it was then that his DNA was matched to the crime scene. We all agree that DNA taken on arrest should be checked against unsolved crimes. This is entirely different from stockpiling the DNA of innocent men, women and children for years on end."
10 April 2010
Porkie Detector (No 3)
If you must tell lies, it would be helpful if - at the very least - you tried to make them believable. Reciting porkies which can be readily and obviously disproved is not only stupid on the part of the reciter; it assumes the rest of us are numpties. The Guardian reports: