This case surely shows everyone the danger of extensive DNA databases and how they can and will be used in the future. Lorraine Elliott, a city lawyer, was fired from a £150,000 a year post after a routine check revealed her DNA on the national database.

She was arrested in September this year suspected of forging a signature on an application form so that she could fraudulently obtain a nursery school place. Her DNA was taken and will now appear on the database for 6 years. This means that on any police check the data will appear, despite her being innocent as she was never charged or found guilty of an offence.

A keen horse rider, she is now struggling to keep a roof over her head and that of her 3 children by working as a stable hand.

But her employers obviously thought that there can be no smoke without fire, drew their own conclusions and have sacked her. The irony is that she was about to start on a project involving the new national identity card scheme.

This effectively creates a new class of criminal, the ‘guilty innocents’. We used to have a system where you were either guilty or you were innocent. Now you can be left in limbo for 6 years. Remember also that the government’s original plans, but for the intervention of the EU, was for indefinite holding of DNA! Food for thought.

Had she not been going for a job that requires police background clearances she may well never have realised the repercussions of these new rules. Most people will just dismiss this as an isolated case to be ignored, but it could easily happen to anyone by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just because it may happen infrequently doesn’t make it right.

The holding of DNA on a whim must be prevented and the dissemination of DNA data about innocent people must never be allowed to occur. EU legislation has at least kept the time limit for holding such data to 6 years, but that is far too long for any innocent person. As she is a lawyer I would expect her to chase this all the way to and through the European courts.

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