Police photographs: pro bono win for Liberty
In R (RMC and FJ) v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner  EWHC 1681 (Admin), the Divisional Court has upheld judicial review claims about retention of custody photographs. The court ruled that the Met’s policy of long-term retention of suspects’ photographs taken following arrest breaches the Article 8 rights of individuals released without charge, or charged but acquitted. Liberty intervened in the case, represented pro bono by Gordon Nardell QC and Rory Dunlop. The Divisional Court adopted a number of Liberty’s arguments. The court accepted that the confused mass of cross-referring policy statements on the Met’s website forced members of the public to follow a “paper trail”, incompatible with the Convention requirement that the law should be predictable and accessible. The court also found that the retention policy failed to distinguish between convicted and unconvicted individuals, and for that and other reasons was a disproportionate interference with the right to respect for private life. This is the latest in a series of cases dealing with the domestic fall-out from the European Court of Human Rights 2009 judgment in S. and Marper v. UK, which held that the indefinite retention of DNA profiles and fingerprints of unconvicted suspects violated Article 8. Gordon Nardell also assisted Liberty in its intervention in that case.