THE FACTS

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

The applicant is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, born in
1913, and at present detained in the Blundeston prison at Lowestoft.

On .. June, 1966, the applicant was convicted of conspiracy in a series
of company frauds at the Birmingham Assizes and sentenced to twelve
years' preventive detention.

According to the applicant, this decision was subsequently upheld by
the full Court of Appeal in January, 1967.

Under Section 37 (1) of the Criminal Justice Act, 1967, preventive
detention was abolished. However, in order to protect the public from
certain persistent offenders, the Act gave the courts powers to impose
an extended term of imprisonment if certain conditions were satisfied.
However, this extended term can never exceed ten years, whereas,
according to the relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948,
which was applied to the applicant, a sentence of preventive detention
could be imposed in lieu of any other sentence for a maximum term of
fourteen years.

Under Schedule 5 to the 1967 Act (which entered into force on 1st
October, 1967) a person sentenced to preventive detention, who was
detained in pursuance of his sentence on 1st April, 1968, shall be
treated for purposes of detention, release, recall and otherwise as
having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of the same length as
the term of his original sentence.

The applicant submits that all prisoners serving sentences of
preventive detention have had their sentences reviewed by the Home
Office. However, only six cases were found to warrant a reduction of
sentence. In some of these cases, the sentence was reduced from
fourteen years to ten years, which corresponded to the maximum term
under Section 37 of the 1967 Act.

The applicant maintains that a person serving a sentence of preventive
detention enjoys considerably more freedom than ordinary prisoners from
whom he is kept apart. According to him, the offenses of which he was
convicted would normally have warranted a term of seven years'
imprisonment, had not the judge chosen to sentence the applicant to
preventive detention in order to protect the public, knowing that such
a sentence entailed more freedom.

The applicant claims that since a sentence of preventive detention is
no longer legal, the committal order under which he is held is no
longer legal. He further contends that a sentence of preventive
detention passed prior to the entry into force of the relevant
provisions of the 1967 Act must be altered to conform with the legal
maximum of the Act. Consequently, he should, in any event, not be
forced to serve more than ten years.

According to the applicant, the Home Office has recognised, by reducing
certain sentences of fourteen years to ten years, that penalties under
the new Act were intended to be less severe than the 1948 Act. Common
justice thus demands a pro-rata reduction of all preventive detention
sentences.

The applicant does not invoke any specific Article of the Convention.

THE LAW

Whereas, insofar as the applicant can be said to complain of the
sentence imposed at the Birmingham Assizes on .. June, 1966, Article
26 (Art. 26) of the Convention provides that the Commission may only
deal with a matter "within a period of six months from the date on
which the final decision was taken"; and whereas the decision of the
Court of Appeal, which was the final decision regarding the subject of
this complaint was given in January, 1967; whereas the present
application was not submitted to the Commission until 27th June, 1968,
that is, more than six months after the date of this decision;

Whereas, furthermore, an examination of the case does not disclose the
existence of any special circumstances which might have interrupted or
suspended the running of that period; whereas it follows that this part
of the application has been lodged out of time (Article 26 and 27,
paragraph (3) (Art. 26, 27-3), of the Convention);

Whereas, insofar as the applicant complains that he is improperly
detained in prison, it is clear that the applicant is detained after
conviction by a competent court and in accordance with his sentence and
that his detention is accordingly not the consequence of any arbitrary
action by the authorities; whereas, therefore, his detention is
"lawful" within the meaning of Article 5, paragraph (1) (a)
(Art. 5-1-a), of the Convention;

Whereas, furthermore, it is to be observed that the sentence of
preventive detention was imposed in 1966 in accordance with the law
then in force;

Whereas no further sentences of preventive detention could be imposed
after the date the Criminal Justice Act, 1967, came into force;

Whereas this did not, however, affect the validity of such a sentence
already imposed which, by virtue of the statute, for purposes of
detention, release, recall and otherwise, was to be treated as a
sentence of imprisonment of the same length as the original sentence;

Whereas, insofar as the applicant maintains that the principle by which
extended imprisonment is limited to ten years, should be applied to
him, an examination of the case as it has been submitted, does neither
reveal that the applicant is being subject to a more severe form of
punishment than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal
offence was committed, contrary to Article 7, paragraph (1) (Art. 7-1),
of the Convention, nor can he claim to be subject to discrimination on
grounds set out in Article 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention;

Whereas, it follows that this part of the application is manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2)
(Art. 27-2), of the Convention;

Now therefore the Commission DECLARES THIS APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE