THE FACTS

Whereas the facts presented by the Applicant may be summarised as
follows:

The Applicant is a British subject, born in 1909. He is presently
serving a total of seven years' imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs Prison,
having been convicted on 13th December, 1963, at the Central Criminal
Court on eleven counts of fraud, forgery and perjury.

I. The Applicant appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal against his
conviction and sentence. He asked inter alia for a new trial on the
grounds of discovery of fresh evidence. The appeal, which came before
the Court of Criminal Appeal in July, 1964, appears to have been
unsuccessful, having been at least in part abandoned by the Applicant
with leave of the Court after the Court had refused to grant an
adjournment.

II. The Applicant then petitioned the Home Secretary, on 9th February,
1965, 27th July, 1965, 10th September, 1965, 14th October, 1965, 17th
October 1965, 20th December, 1965, 29th December, 1965 and 21st
January, 1966. He states that on 24th March, 1966, these petitions were
rejected in the following terms "... de Courcy has asked for his case
to be referred to the Court of Criminal Appeal; for the grant of a free
pardon; for permission to institute a private prosecution for perjury
against D. [a witness for the prosecution] and for an extradition order
to be issued in respect of D. Could de Courcy please be informed that
the Secretary of State has carefully considered these petitions, but
can find no ground for taking action in regard to them."  The
Applicant's wife also petitioned the Home Secretary, without success,
on 29th December, 1965, 13th January, 1966 and 24th January, 1966.

III. The Applicant states that he was wrongly convicted and that he has
been deliberately prevented from establishing this fact. In particular
he states that a certain D., the main prosecution witness at his trial,
influenced by the prosecution, concealed the existence of 1,400
documents until after the Applicant's conviction. According to the
Applicant this witness has made eight signed statements admitting that
his evidence at the Applicant's trial was fabricated. The Applicant
states that other evidence has been discovered which proves him to be
innocent.

The Applicant states his case as follows in his letter of 9th April,
1966: "My allegations and complaints are essentially based on the fact
that since 13.1.66 a whole body of fundamental evidence has been
disclosed which wholly upsets not only the conviction but involves my
vital civil rights, now of active relevance to me and others."

IV. In particular, he complains that the Home Secretary has, since 13th
January, 1966, refused:

(a) to refer the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal as was allegedly
the Applicant's constitutional right, and the Home Secretary's
constitutional duty;

(b) to grant a free pardon;

(c) to give permission to institute a private prosecution for perjury
against the principal witness for the prosecution.

(d) to institute extradition proceedings against that witness for the
same purpose;

(e) to give leave to the Applicant "to apply for a writ of habeas
corpus that I be produced before a Judge of the High Court of Justice
to apply for an injunction to restrain the Home Secretary from stopping
me from such proceedings in the UK Courts as are requisite to
demonstrate evidence of my wrongful conviction." (In his letter of 25th
May, 1966, the Applicant makes it clear that his intention was not to
apply for habeas corpus in respect of detention).

V. The Applicant further complains that he has been "shut out by the
Home Secretary from every Court in the United Kingdom" and that he has
been "wholly deprived of all access to any Courts whatsoever." He
states that there has been a decision or directive to this effect.

The Applicant makes the following allegations regarding this complaint.

(a) He has been refused permission to instruct solicitors and counsel;
his letter of 28th February, 1966, states that "all verbal and written
communications have been forbidden";

(b) On 15th February, 1966, the following letters were confiscated:

a letter dated 4th February 1966, in which the Applicant instructed a
solicitor to examine evidence with a view to prosecuting the main
prosecution witness at the Applicant's trial;

a letter dated 5th February 1966, in which the Applicant instructed a
firm of solicitors to issue a writ against the same witness;

a letter dated 7th February 1966, in which the Applicant instructed a
solicitor to make a civil claim against nine persons;

(c) On 1st February, 1966, a letter dated 24th January, 1966, from the
Applicant to the "Master of the High Court" in Rhodesia was
confiscated. This letter, and a previous letter of 21st January, 1966
(which was apparently received and acted on in Rhodesia) related to a
claim made by the Applicant against a company in liquidation in
Rhodesia, which claim had been expunged because no reply had been
received in Rhodesia to letters addressed to the Applicant and dated
20th August and 1st November, 1965;

(d) On 9th March, 1966, a personal application which the Applicant made
to the Master of the Crown Office (in London) was confiscated. This
application was similar to that referred to under IV (e) above, and was
made for the purpose of enabling the Applicant to establish
"documentary evidence of my wrongful conviction which evidence had
become available since the exhaustion of all legal processes open to
me in normal course following upon conviction";

(e) The Applicant states that in a civil action which was brought
against him during or before 1963, his solicitors were informed on 29th
October, 1965, that the hearing was fixed for 7th June, 1966. This
information reached him on 4th May, 1966, much too late for a defence.
It appears that this case has now been adjourned to January, 1967;

(f) The Applicant states that he has been prevented from defending a
civil action in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas. He has submitted
copies of communications between lawyers in the Bahamas and solicitors
in London, showing that judgment was entered against a company called
X. Co. Limited for £133,799, in default of defence;

In a letter dated 31st March, 1966, to the London solicitors, the
lawyers in the Bahamas disclaim responsibility for the judgment,
stating that the request made to these solicitors for instructions to
defend had not been answered;

(g) The Applicant states that the fact that he is not permitted to have
access to civil courts prevents him from taking action to deal with
harmful press publicity;

(h) The Applicant complained on 5th May, 1966, that he was forbidden
from writing "any letters of instruction to solicitors or to any other
party whether in connection with my application to the ... Commission
or ... any other matter, save 2 per day on 5 days a week". On 27th May,
1966, solicitors wrote to the Home Secretary on behalf of the Applicant
asking for the restriction to be removed.

VI. In relation to his imprisonment he states that for 10 months he was
kept in solitary confinement 20 hours out of 24. He states that the
light was kept burning in his cell 24 hours a day.

VII. The Applicant states that "all domestic remedies open to the
Applicant have since 13.1.66 been exhausted."  He also states that the
Home Secretary's decision of 24th March, 1966, "will dispose of any
possible question as to the date of the decisions of which complaint
is made."

VIII. Various approaches have been made in this case, on behalf of the
Applicant, to the Commission, including a request for information from
a Member of Parliament who has been considering the Applicant's case.

Complaints have been received from other persons and companies saying
that their rights depend on the Applicant's claims, and supporting his
application.

The Applicant has also informed the Commission that as he is "an Irish
National by right of birth [he has] felt it proper to bring the
allegations to the attention of the Government of the Republic of
Ireland", and has referred in this connection to Article 24 of the
Convention.

The Applicant reiterates the argument that there is an obvious design
in the proceedings to prevent him from getting justice. He points out
that his correspondence is examined and copied, and wishes to be
assured that there will be no "secret exchanges". He suggests that
propaganda is carried out against him and that the United Kingdom
authorities are "attempting to deter witnesses".

Further, he is anxious for the Commission to act quickly  He asks "for
his person to be produced in Strasbourg forthwith" so that he can
marshal the evidence to be produced to the Commission. He also asks to
be released on parole for the purpose of attending the Commission. The
request to release the Applicant on parole or to send him to Strasbourg
in custody was also made to the Home Secretary by lawyers acting on the
Applicant's instructions.

IX. In relation to his Application to the Commission, the Applicant at
one time complained that he had no access to documents which he
considered relevant as the lawyer who had represented the Applicant at
his trial refused to deliver them to him. It appears that these have
now been delivered to him. The Applicant appears to be considering an
action for negligence against this lawyer in respect of his conduct of
the Applicant's defence.

The Applicant stated in his Application of 21st February, 1966, that
he had been refused leave to make the Application to the Commission or
to instruct solicitors or counsel. On 25th February, 1966, he wrote
that he was now able to make his Application, and to instruct
solicitors and counsel.

The Applicant later complained that because of a decision of the Board
of Trade he was unable to obtain copies of certain accounts for the
purpose of forwarding them to the Commission. The Applicant states that
he has no doubt that this has been arranged between various Government
Departments in the general policy of the Crown to stifle the issues".

The Applicant has sent to the Commission several files of documents,
setting out in detail the evidence relating to his complaints in
particular concerning his conviction. He states, however, that this
does not exhaust the evidence which he wishes to submit. He wishes to
present his case before the Commission in person, under Article 36,
paragraph 2, of the Rules of Procedure "assisted by his legal
advisers". He asks for his case to be dealt with urgently by the
Commission, and states that the limitation period is running out in
respect of actions which he wishes to bring.

X. The Applicant invokes Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention. He seeks
a new trial on the original criminal charges against him. He also
wishes to have the civil rights of himself and others determined in the
Courts.

THE LAW

Whereas in regard to the Applicant's complaints as a whole it is to be
observed that the Commission can only receive an application lodged by
an individual, non-governmental organisation or group of individuals
under Article 25 (Art. 25) of the Convention if the State complained
against has ratified the Convention and has expressly declared that it
recognises the competence of the Commission to receive such
applications;

Whereas the United Kingdom has signed and ratified the Convention;

Whereas, however, by the terms of the declaration made on 14th January,
1966, by the United Kingdom under Article 25 (Art. 25) of the
Convention, the competence of the Commission recognised under that
Article extends only to applications whereby a person, non-governmental
organisation or group of individuals claims to be the victim of a
violation of the Convention in relation to any act or decision
occurring or facts or events arising subsequently to 13th January,
1966; whereas, therefore, the Applicant's complaints relating to acts
or decisions occurring or facts or events arising prior to 14th
January, 1966, and in particular the Applicant's complaints relating
to his trial and his appeal therefrom to the Court of Criminal Appeal
are excluded from the competence of the Commission to receive them and
must be rejected ratione temporis in this respect;

Whereas in regard to the Applicant's complaints that, subsequently to
13th January, 1966, he has not been granted a free pardon or a new
trial and that the Home Secretary has not exercised his discretionary
power to refer the Applicant's case to the Court of Criminal Appeal,
it is to be observed that the Convention, under the terms of Article
1 (Art. 1), guarantees only the rights and freedoms set forth in
Section I of the Convention; and whereas, under Article 25, paragraph
(1) (Art. 25-1), only the alleged violation of one of those rights and
freedoms by a Contracting Party can be the subject of an application
presented by a person, non-governmental organisation or group of
individuals;

Whereas otherwise its examination is outside the competence of the
Commission ratione materiae; whereas the right to be accorded a pardon
is not as such included among the rights or freedoms guaranteed by the
Convention; whereas in this respect the Commission refers to its
constant jurisprudence (see for example Decision No. 2186/64 - L. v.
the Federal Republic of Germany); whereas further the right to obtain
a reopening of proceedings by a retrial or otherwise after the
determination of a criminal charge against him has become res judicata
is also not as such included among the rights and freedoms guaranteed
by the Convention; (see Decision No. 1237/61, T. v. Austria, Yearbook
V, page 91); whereas it follows that this part of the Application is
incompatible with the provisions of the Convention within the meaning
of Article 27, paragraph (2) (Art. 27-2) of the Convention;

Whereas in regard to the Applicant's complaints that he has not been
enabled to institute a private prosecution for perjury against a
witness at his trial and that extradition proceedings were not taken
against this witness for this purpose, it is similarly to be observed
that these alleged rights are not as such included among the rights and
freedoms guaranteed by the Convention, and that therefore this part of
the Application is also incompatible with the provisions of the
Convention within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2) (Art. 27-2),
of the Convention;

Whereas in regard to such of the Applicant's complaints as appear to
relate to the actions of lawyers who had represented him in civil or
criminal proceedings, it results from Article 19 (Art. 19) of the
Convention that the sole task of the Commission is to ensure the
observance of the engagements undertaken in the Convention by the High
Contracting Parties, being those Members of the Council of Europe which
have signed the Convention and deposited their instruments of
ratification;

Whereas, moreover, it appears from Article 25, paragraph (1)
(Art. 25-1), of the Convention that the Commission can properly admit
an application from an individual only if that individual claims to be
the victim of a violation of his rights under the Convention by one of
the Parties which have accepted this competence of the Commission;
whereas it results clearly from these Articles that the Commission has
no competence ratione personae to admit applications directed against
private individuals;

Whereas it follows that this part of the Application is incompatible
with the Convention within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2)
(Art. 27-2) (see Application No. 1599/62, Yearbook of the European
Convention on Human Rights, Volume 6, pages 348, 356);

Now therefore the Commission

1. Declares inadmissible the parts of the Application dealt with above;

2. Adjourns its examination of the remainder of the Application.