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Crime and policing minister David Hanson put forward five case studies to a select committee, but due to an "administrative error" one was a copy of one of the other cases with the name altered.

Hanson wrote to MPs on the parliamentary committee in relation to the crime and security bill, laying out five cases to support the retention of DNA samples. However shadow home affairs minister James Brokenshire noticed that the first of the case studies "bore a startling resemblance" to the fifth.

Both cases involved rape charges and the offenders were also both Dutch nationals. The name of the person convicted in the first study was left out.

When questioned in a select committee about the similarities on 4 February 2010, Hanson admitted the studies were "the same case". He blamed the error on confusion over receiving victim approval to enable the victims' names to be put into the public domain.

Brokenshire told GC News that he was "genuinely shocked" by the discovery. He is also currently awaiting written clarification from Mr Hanson about the error.

"When I first noted the similarities I thought, 'how many Dutch nationals commit a crime in 2006 and are convicted of rape in 2008? It's a bit odd'.

"At the very least it is gross negligence, it's almost like a dodgy DNA dossier. I am so shocked that this could happen and quite frankly if this is the best the government can do to argue its case, their arguments aren't very strong," Brokenshire said.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against the policy of indefinite retention in late 2008. As a result, the Home Office has proposed measures to allow those arrested, but not convicted, to clear their DNA from the national database after six years.

The Home Office did not respond when asked by Kable for comment.

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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