Still Think The DNA Database Is A Good Idea?*

A carpenter called to fix a door broken by a burglar was arrested by bungling police – after he left his DNA at the scene as he did his job.


A forensic team found Mr Gaspard’s blood at the house after he cut himself while fixing the door in Hove.

And, because his DNA was presumably on file for another unrelated issue, plod sticks the data in, computer spits out a match, and off they go….

No actual police work involved!

Officers arrested him and threw him in a cell before realising their mistake and letting him go.

And expunging details of his arrest, so he can go to the US on holiday without hassle? Probably not.

Omelettes and eggs, right?

* I know, I know. Rhetorical question – the idiots who champion such a thing are always in favour, no matter what…

20 comments for “Still Think The DNA Database Is A Good Idea?*

  1. June 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    The fact he was taken to the station, not questioned first, is even more ridiculous

    • June 11, 2011 at 7:42 am

      Indeed. Or why not make enquiries of the householder as to whether he had anyone fix the broken door? Since they must have known this chap was a carpenter!

  2. June 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I’d go easy on the /facepalm!

    If you ever get beaten up, the police will find traces of your DNA on your cheek and might then arrest you for beating yourself up.

    Or something. 😉

    • June 11, 2011 at 7:42 am


  3. June 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I’m happy to say, I was never in favour of the DNA database.

    Mark – If you get arrested for beating yourself up, refuse to press charges and they’ll have to let you go.

    • June 11, 2011 at 7:42 am

      There’s a certain crazy logic at play there!

    • PT Barnum
      June 11, 2011 at 11:53 am

      Sorry to say you’d likely be charged with conspiracy to cause ABH or GBH (a newish legal twist on the we-know-best-mentality to save masochists from themselves).

      • June 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

        Interesting. Could I not say that I fell down the stairs and then agree with myself.
        Don’t the police use that technique?

      • Andrew Duffin
        June 30, 2011 at 3:05 pm

        No, I think you’d be charged with obstructing the police in the execution of their duty.

    • June 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      B, nice try, but then the police will press charges of “wasting police time”.

      • June 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

        Yep, they’ll always get you with somethig

  4. Jim
    June 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I’ve never quite understood this ‘If everyone’s DNA is on file we can solve all crimes’ idea. Surely this case proves the point. If I’m the burglar and they arrest me(having found my DNA at the scene) surely all I have to do at the trial is ask the prosecution if any other DNA was found at the scene. Then its reasonable doubt as to who did it – could have been me, but equally could have been the other guy.

    Equally, what’s to stop a burglar chucking a handful of hair from a barbers floor at the scene? Hey presto, plenty of other suspects, all good to muddy the water if it ever comes to trial.

    • June 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

      I wouldn’t be too surprised if that hadn’t already been tried.

      • June 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm

        My understanding is that it has been tried. This may be an urban myth but I vaguely recall a case from the Manchester area of a car being stolen but before being abandoned, it was ‘seeded’ with a stranger’s cigarette butts lifted from an ashtray.

        I almost admire the ingenuity of the criminal mind – but then it wasn’t my car..

    • Damo
      June 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      That wouldn’t work as the burglar would actually need the root of the hair.

      Just saying 😉

  5. June 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    This is an issue that has always worried me and Julia highlights why: I travel a lot and so spend half my nights in hotel bedrooms, probably been in 50 hotels already this year, I always think to myself what happens if the next inhabitant of the bedroom commits murder/rape/violent assault/whatever…no matter how good the cleaners are my DNA will be all over the place, I guess this would be the same for ANYONE, ANYWHERE (restaurants/stations/any public place)

    Also, a couple of years ago a guy was set free as “innocent” because new DNA (semen one presumes) evidence proved he didn’t rape the victim (a woman was raped and then killed) but it didn’t prove he didn’t kill her (not the same thing I know just the odd things that the law throws up)

  6. dearieme
    June 11, 2011 at 12:16 am

    “but it didn’t prove he didn’t kill her”: it doesn’t need to under our system, does it?

    • June 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

      True enough.

    • Span Ows
      June 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      Agreed but the conviction was for rape and murder, one presumes that at the time the only evidence of murder was that he raped her so when that was quashed the rest as too.

  7. David A. Evans.
    June 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Well I was arrested, note just arrested, not charged or convicted.
    Now I’m there on the database.
    What was the evidence for arresting me? I had a Jack Russell dog & a HiVis jacket.

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