Danger of Miracle Solution to Crime; New Discoveries in DNA Testing Have Revolutionised Crime Fighting. but Even Though It Has Led to Major Breakthroughs in a Series of High-Profile Crimes, There Are Some Who Remain Concerned at the Blind Faith Being Shown in the Science. Paul Groves and Julie McCaffrey Report

The Birmingham Post (England), February 7, 2003 | Go to article overview

Danger of Miracle Solution to Crime; New Discoveries in DNA Testing Have Revolutionised Crime Fighting. but Even Though It Has Led to Major Breakthroughs in a Series of High-Profile Crimes, There Are Some Who Remain Concerned at the Blind Faith Being Shown in the Science. Paul Groves and Julie McCaffrey Report


Byline: Paul Groves and Julie McCaffrey

Stephen is a worried man. He's received assurances and he's done exhaustive research himself, but he lives in fear of the knock on the door and the finger of suspicion being pointed again.

It is not the 57-year-old retired banker who will be in the firing line. Rather, Stephen is fearful for his 31-year-old son James - or Jamie as he's known by family and friends.

Jamie has experienced more than his fair share of problems over the years, not least several bouts of mental illness. The fact that he chooses to live in the South-east, a long way from his family home in rural Shropshire, is an on-going source of concern.

In the circumstances his family is very protective - overly so, his father used to think - and insists he maintain daily contact. But now Stephen's attitude has changed after his son, who has spent the last 18 months in a full-time job and free of medication for the first time in more than a decade, found himself falsely accused of indecently assaulting a former friend.

The case was dropped within a matter of weeks when the woman admitted she had made up a story after a row with her boyfriend. But in that time Jamie was questioned at length in a police station and, more worrying for his family, he was also asked to provide a DNA sample.

Jamie himself seems to have put the incident behind him. However, for Stephen the worry is that his innocent son's DNA will now be added to the national database.

'Jamie is a very trusting person, despite all the problems he's had,' explains Stephen at their family home near Ludlow. 'He takes people as he sees them. He can be quite a wide-eyed innocent at times.

'He's never broken the law and he has an acute sense of what is right and wrong. But my concern has always been that he can be easily led at times and find himself with the wrong people, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

'That is what happened with the indecent assault allegation. This woman needed to lash out in anger and Jamie was an easy target.'

After discovering his son had agreed to a DNA sample being taken without first consulting his solicitor or family, Stephen asked whether his record would be destroyed when he was found to be totally innocent. He is reluctant to name the police force in question while 'delicate' discussions continue.

'My solicitor has been informed that it is 'likely' the sample will be destroyed. But I want to see it in writing,' he said. 'There are too many 'What if?' type questions that would be left unanswered.'

Stephen remains hopeful that he will reach an agreement with the police force in question. But his concerns are shared on quite a wide scale.

The leading civil liberties organisation, Liberty, is closely monitoring the situation and has frequently warned about the dangers posed by such a database. …

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Danger of Miracle Solution to Crime; New Discoveries in DNA Testing Have Revolutionised Crime Fighting. but Even Though It Has Led to Major Breakthroughs in a Series of High-Profile Crimes, There Are Some Who Remain Concerned at the Blind Faith Being Shown in the Science. Paul Groves and Julie McCaffrey Report
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