National / Crime & Legal

Man with intellectual disabilities wins damages after Japanese police collected his DNA without a warrant

Kyodo

A local court ordered Hyogo Prefecture on Wednesday to pay ¥110,000 in damages to a man with intellectual disabilities, saying the prefectural police illegally took his DNA without proper consent in 2015.

The police had said they received written permission from the man before conducting the swab at a police station in the city of Nishinomiya. But the Kobe District Court said the man did not have the ability to give consent.

The court ruled that the 41-year-old, who is also autistic and has difficulty communicating with others, “did not have the ability to comprehend what giving his DNA (to the police) meant.” The plaintiff had demanded ¥1.65 million in damages for a human rights violation.

Presiding Judge Koji Yamaguchi said the police should have obtained a warrant for collecting the DNA sample from his mouth.

According to the ruling, the man burned plastic bags near a park in Nishinomiya in October 2015 after lighting a candle and incense while his caretaker was not around. The police were alerted to the incident and took the man to the police station.

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