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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 12:38 GMT
Teacher wins police DNA battle
A teacher accused of hitting a child with a ruler, but never prosecuted, has won a legal battle to have her DNA sample and fingerprints destroyed.

Philippa Jones, from Birmingham, was arrested in June last year following allegations she hit a boy aged eight.

The High Court said her DNA sample, fingerprints and photograph should have been destroyed within 28 days.

She will also receive 250 damages from West Midlands Police for false imprisonment and assault.

Ms Jones, from Kings Norton, launched a High Court action for a declaration that the taking of her fingerprints and DNA - after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute - was unlawful.

Samples kept

The case ended on Thursday when police accepted Ms Jones was entitled to a judicial review.

The court heard Ms Jones was arrested following an allegation she twice hit a boy with a ruler.

She denied any wrong-doing and a decision not to prosecute was made the same day.

However, a photograph, fingerprints and DNA samples were taken and retained by police.

Her legal team, headed by barrister Mary McKeone, lodged the judicial review challenge claiming the decision to take the samples breached the terms of the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

Judge Justice Wilkie told the court that the West Midland force now accepted it had taken the samples "without appropriate authority to do so".

'Not a suspect'

Under the act, taking fingerprints and samples is lawful "providing the suspect is lawfully detained."

However, once the CPS had decided not to prosecute Ms Jones was no longer a suspect and should have been released.

In taking her fingerprints and DNA Ms Jones was assaulted and falsely imprisoned, her lawyers claim.

They also said that while recognising the importance of keeping fingerprints and samples, it can only be done in the context of a lawful framework.

Section 64A of the act allows police to take photographs without consent but only if lawfully detained at a police station.

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