FIRST SECTION

PARTIAL DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 14934/03 
by Vyacheslav POTAPOV 
against Russia

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 31 August 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr C.L. Rozakis, President
 Mr L. Loucaides
 Mrs N. Vajić
 Mr A. Kovler
 Mrs E. Steiner
 Mr K. Hajiyev
 Mr D. Spielmann, judges
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 20 March 2003,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Vyacheslav Anatolyevich Potapov, is a Russian national who was born in 1977 and is now serving his sentence in the Novosibirsk Region.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.

On 20 April 2001 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of murder and brought to the police station for questioning. He was remanded in custody pending trial. Counsel D. was appointed to represent him.

On 27 September 2001 the applicant received the bill of indictment. He was charged with murder and robbery. The bill of indictment stated, inter alia, that the applicant’s guilt had been fully proved.

On 5 October 2001 the Novosibirsk Regional Court held the first hearing.

On 11 October 2001 the Regional Court appointed counsel P. to strengthen the applicant’s defence in response to the applicant’s request for having Mr D. replaced. The court took a short recess so that Ms P. could study the case-file. The proceedings were resumed on the same day.

On 16 October 2001 the Regional Court found the applicant guilty as charged and sentenced him to seventeen years’ imprisonment. In his points of appeal the applicant challenged admissibility and assessment of evidence by the trial court. He asked the court to ensure his attendance at the appeal hearing.

On 20 June 2002 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation granted the applicant leave to appear in person.

On 9 September and 25 October 2002 the applicant asked for legal assistance with a view to preparing for the appeal hearing. No response followed.

On 31 October 2002 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation upheld the applicant’s conviction on appeal. The applicant was not represented. The hearing was conducted by means of a two-way videoconference.

COMPLAINTS

1.  The applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention that the police subjected him to inhuman and degrading treatment during his arrest and questioning.

2.  The applicant complained under Articles 3 and 6 §§ 1 and 2 of the Convention that he was held in a metal cage in the courtroom during the trial.

3.  The applicant complained under Article 5 of the Convention that his arrest was not lawful, that he was promptly informed of the charge against him and was not brought promptly before a judge.

4.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that he did not have a trial by jury and that he was not allowed to be physically present at the appeal hearing.

5.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 2 that the bill of indictment pronounced him guilty and that he was presumed guilty by the trial and appeal courts.

6.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 3 (a) that for the first time he was informed of the causes of the accusation when the bill of indictment was issued to him.

7.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 3 (b) that the investigating officer did not inform him of his decision to commission a forensic study and that he did not have time or opportunity to meet with counsel during the trial.

8.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 3 (c) that the appointed counsel D. did not provide effective defence and that his request for legal assistance before the appeal court went unanswered, and that counsel of his choosing was not appointed to represent him.

9.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 3 (d) that he could not confront expert witnesses.

10.  The applicant complained under Article 8 § 1 of the Convention about unlawful interference with his private and family life. In particular, he alleged that the police repeatedly broke into his flat, that private photos were unlawfully removed from his flat and discussed in public.

11.  The applicant complained under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that his possessions were stolen from his flat after his arrest.

12.  The applicant complained under Article 13 of the Convention that many of his complaints did not see an official response.

13.  The applicant complained under Article 14 of the Convention that he was discriminated against on account of his social status.

THE LAW

1.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 3 (c) of the Convention that he could not effectively defend himself at the appeal hearing because the authorities had not appointed legal counsel to represent him. The relevant parts of Article 6 read as follows:

“1.  In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...

...

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

...

(c)  ...if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require.”

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.

2.  The Court has examined the remainder of the complaints as submitted by the applicant. However, having regard to all the material in its possession, and in so far as the matters complained of were within its competence, the Court found that they did not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant’s complaint concerning the failure to provide the applicant with legal assistance;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis 
 Registrar President