AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY

Application No. 12917/87
by Anthony DRUMMOND
against the United Kingdom


        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
9 December 1987, the following members being present:

                MM.  C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                     J.A. FROWEIN
                     S. TRECHSEL
                     G. SPERDUTI
                     E. BUSUTTIL
                     G. JÖRUNDSSON
                     A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                     A. WEITZEL
                     J.C. SOYER
                     H.G. SCHERMERS
                     H. DANELIUS
                     G. BATLINER
                Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
                Sir  Basil HALL
                MM.  F. MARTINEZ
                     C.L. ROZAKIS
                Mrs.  J. LIDDY

                Mr.  H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission


        Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

        Having regard to the application introduced on 20 November
1986 by Anthony DRUMMOND against the United Kingdom and registered
on 11 May 1987 under file No. 12917/87;

        Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the
Rules of Procedure of the Commission;

        Having deliberated;

        Decides as follows:

FACTS

        The applicant is a British citizen born in 1969 and resident
in Glasgow.  The applicant is represented before the Commission by
John Macaulay, a solicitor practising in Glasgow.  The facts as
submitted by the applicant may be summarised as follows.

        The applicant was summoned by the Procurator Fiscal to appear
at Glasgow District Court on 4 June 1986 to answer a complaint that he
had committed a breach of the peace.  Two other persons appeared on the
same charge.  The applicant entered a plea of not guilty and trial was
fixed for 19 November 1986.

        On 22 August 1986 the applicant's solicitor applied to the
District Court for legal aid to enable him to defend the charge.  The
solicitor supplied the Court with a statement of the applicant's
defence and the Court was informed that the applicant had no previous
convictions.  The application was refused on 26 August 1986 as "not in
the interests of justice".

        At the beginning of his trial on 19 November 1986 the
applicant made another application for legal aid on the basis that one
of his co-accused, who had a similar defence, had been granted legal
aid.  This application was refused.  The applicant's solicitor however
remained and, at the end of the prosecution case, submitted on the
applicant's behalf that there was no case to answer.  The Court
accepted this submission and acquitted the applicant.  The refusal of
legal aid however resulted in the applicant being liable for the
expenses of the case which amount to several hundred pounds.  His
income is £33 per week.


COMPLAINTS

        The applicant complains that he had insufficient means to pay
for legal assistance and that the interests of justice required that
he be legally represented.  The applicant was only 16 years old at the
time and he alleges that one of his co-accused was granted legal aid
on a similar defence which suggests that he was discriminated against.
He invokes Article 6 para. 3 (c) of the Convention.

        The applicant also complains that the refusal of legal aid
meant that he was unable to interview witnesses and establish the case
against him beforehand.  He accordingly alleges that he did not have
adequate facilities for the preparation of his defence contrary to
Article 6 para. 3 (b) of the Convention.


THE LAW

1.      The applicant complains that he was refused legal aid for his
defence although he had insufficient means and allegedly the interests
of justice required that legal aid be granted.

        Article 6 para. 3 (c) (Art. 6-3-c) of the Convention provides that:

        "Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following
        minimum rights:

        ...

        (c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance
        of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to
        pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the
        interests of justice so require".


        The Commission does not consider it necessary to decide
whether the applicant has fulfilled the exhaustion of domestic
remedies rule laid down in Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention, because it
finds the application anyway inadmissible for the following reasons:

        The evaluation of the requirements of the interests of justice under
Article 6 para. 3 (c) (Art. 6-3-c) of the Convention lies in the first place
with the domestic courts.  In this respect the Commission notes the guidelines
issued to Justices of the Peace in Scotland concerning legal aid, which
guidelines indicate the relevant factors to be taken into account in deciding
whether it is in the interests of justice that legal aid should be granted.
They include the consideration of whether the charge is grave and, if proved,
would place the accused at serious risk of loss of liberty, whether the accused
is able to follow the proceedings and state his own case and whether the nature
of the defence involves expert examination of a witness for the prosecution.

        The applicant alleges, however, that the magistrate in his
case ignored the interests of justice in refusing him legal aid on
26 August 1986.

        The Commission does not find his allegation substantiated by
the facts of the case.  There is no indication in the case-file that
in refusing the applicant legal aid, on the grounds that it was not
in the interests of justice, the magistrate did not apply the
aforementioned guidelines, having regard to the information available
to him in the applicant's legal aid application, or that he made his
decision on arbitrary grounds.  It is of particular significance that
when the magistrate considered the applicant's legal aid application
he was aware that the applicant had no previous convictions and that
it was likely that he would have deemed the case before him to have
been a somewhat trivial matter which would not result, in case of
conviction, in more than a fine for the applicant.

        In these circumstances, the Commission concludes that it has
not been shown in the present case that the interests of justice,
within the meaning of Article 6 para. 3 (c) (Art. 6-3-c) of the Convention,
required a grant of free legal assistance to the applicant.  It
follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

2.      The applicant also complains that the refusal of legal aid
deprived him of adequate facilities for the preparation of his
defence.

        Article 6 para. 3 (b) (Art. 6-3-b) of the Convention provides as
follows:

        "Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following
        minimum rights:

        ...

        (b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation
        of his defence."


        However, the Commission finds no evidence in the present case
that the applicant had inadequate facilities to prepare his defence.
This finding is borne out by his acquittal.

        It follows that this aspect of the case is also manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

        For these reasons, the Commission

        DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.



  Secretary to the Commission         President of the Commission




         (H.C. KRÜGER)                      (C.A. NØRGAARD)