THE FACTS

The facts presented by the parties and apparently not in dispute
between them may be summarised as follows:

The applicant is a British subject, born in London in 1938. He normally
resides in S., E., where he is a greengrocer, but is presently held in
the Prison St. G. in Brussels.

In April 1970 the applicant travelled to Belgium with two friends MM.
R. and D. The three men left England on .. April and arrived in Belgium
two days later, having passed through France. The applicant at once
returned to England and flew back to Belgium on .. April. On .. April,
while in the company of Mr. D., he was arrested by the police. He then
discovered that Mr R. had already been arrested and that all three men
were suspected of being involved in the distribution of forged dollar
notes.

On the afternoon of .. April the applicant, having been interviewed by
an examining magistrate, signed a statement written in Dutch. A formal
warrant of arrest was then issued which charged the applicant with
procuring and uttering, or attempting to utter 25 forged 50 dollar
notes. This was renewed and confirmed on .. April and again on .. May
1970. On the latter two occasions the charge was formally translated
for the applicant's benefit in the presence of his lawyer. On .. June
the applicant received a formal indictment written in Dutch.

This charged all three men:

A.   that with fraudulent intent they knowingly obtained forged
banknotes and uttered or attempted to utter them, that is to say:

1.   at least twenty-five 50 dollar notes, at Ostend on .. April 1970;
2.   one 50 dollar note at Veurne on .. April 1970.

B.   that they obtained certain goods by false pretences at Veurne on
.. April 1970.

The trial was held at Bruges on .. June 1970. The language of the court
was Dutch. However, the direct questions to the defendants and their
answers to such questions were translated. The applicant was acquitted
of count B above but convicted on counts A1 and A2. The two other
accused were convicted on all three counts. He himself was sentenced
to three years' imprisonment.

He appealed to the Court of Appeal at Ghent on .. September 1970. The
precise grounds of his appeal have not been presented to the
Commission. The appeal was dismissed. The applicant then applied,
by way of cassation proceedings, to the Supreme Court to nullify his
conviction. Again the precise grounds for the proceedings have not been
presented to the Commission. He was informed on .. March 1971 that the
application had been refused on .. February.

Complaints

The applicant alleges generally violations of Articles 5 and 6 of the
Convention in that he was convicted, on circumstantial evidence, of a
crime of which he was innocent. In particular, the applicant complains
that the charges set out in the indictment were never fully explained
or translated for him. He also complains that he was refused permission
by the examining magistrate and by the trial judge to produce certain
witnesses. He alleges violations, in these respects, of Articles 5 (2),
6 (3) (a), (d) and (e) of the Convention.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

By a partial decision dated 15 December 1971, the Commission, while
declaring other parts of the present application inadmissible, decided,
in accordance with Rule 45, 3 (b) of its Rules of Procedure, to give
notice of the application to the Government of Belgium and to invite
it to submit its observations in writing on the question of
admissibility insofar as the application related to the applicant's
complaints about the lack of translation facilities both before and
during his trial.

On 17 March 1972, the Government submitted its observations on
admissibility. The applicant's reply was submitted on 17 April 1972.

SUBMISSIONS OF THE PARTIES

The respondent Government submits that insofar as the applicant's
complaints relate to the lack of translation facilities, they are
inadmissible on two alternative grounds. First the applicant has not
exhausted his domestic remedies under Belgian law and secondly his
complaints are in any case manifestly ill-founded.

(a)  Exhaustion of domestic remedies

The Government submits that for the applicant to have satisfied Article
26 of the Convention he should have pleaded before the Belgian courts
the right which he alleges were violated in his case, in particular the
right to translation facilities. In support of this submission the
Government refers to the decisions of the Commission in applications
Nos. 263/57 and 2689/65 (the Delcourt case). The Government submits
that, neither before the trial court nor before the Court of Appeal nor
in the course of the cassation proceedings, did the applicant make any
such complaint. All that the applicant did was to protest his innocence
of the deeds with which he had been charged. The Government points out
that even in his letter introducing his complaint to the Commission the
applicant's claim was that he was innocent of the charge on which he
was being held, and that it was only later that he complained of the
lack of translation facilities.

In reply, the applicant does not deny that he did not complaint to the
trial court, the Court of Appeal or in the cassation proceedings about
the inadequacy of translation facilities, but he submits first that he
was not aware of his right to do so (of which, he says, he was not
informed) and, secondly, that he did not complain to the British
counsel and to his lawyer who conducted his defence and subsequent
appeal.

(b)  manifestly ill-founded

The respondent Government submits that, even if the applicant has
exhausted his domestic remedies, his complaints in this respect are
manifestly ill-founded. The Government does not deny that the charges
set out in the indictment were not translated for the applicant. The
Government submits, however, that the applicant was fully aware, from
the moment of his arrest, of the reasons for his arrest. It submits,
moreover, that according to the jurisprudence of the Commission a
complete description of all the charges does not need to be given to
an accused person at the moment of his arrest and that not only did the
applicant have, during his interrogation by the examining magistrate
and at his trial, the services of an interpreter, but also during his
trial he was defended by a local lawyer who could speak perfect
English.

In reply, the applicant states that, although he knew that the charges
against him concerned false money, he did not know their precise nature
or how they were formulated. He argues that since during his trial the
interpreter only interpreted the direct questions, something
prejudicial to him could have been said which he did not understand.
He denies that his lawyer spoke perfect English and says that he had
difficulty in communicating with him.

THE LAW

The applicant has complained that, although innocent, he was convicted
as a result of lack of help with translation both before and during his
trial. Although the warrant of arrest, issued on .. April 1970, was
translated for him, the formal indictment issued on .. June was written
in Dutch and was not translated. At the trial on .. June only direct
questions were translated. He has also complained that he was not
allowed to produce certain witnesses. In these various respects the
applicant complains of breaches or Articles 5 (2) and 6 (3) (a), (d)
and (e) (Art. 5-2, 6-3-a, 6-3-d, 6-3-e) of the Convention. However,
under Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention, the Commission may only
deal with a matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted
according to the generally recognised rules of international law. The
mere fact that the applicant has submitted his case to the various
competent courts does not of itself constitute compliance with this
rule. It is also required that the substance of any complaint made
before the Commission should have been raised during the proceedings
concerned. In this respect the Commission refers to its constant
jurisprudence (see e.g. decisions on the admissibility of applications
No. 263/57 Yearbook, Vol. 1, pp. 146 and 147 and No. 1103/61, Yearbook,
Vol. 5, pp. 168, 186).

In the present case the applicant does not maintain that he raised
either in form or in substance, the proceedings before the Court of
Appeal at Ghent on 29 September 1970, or in the cassation proceedings
before the Supreme Court on 2 February 1971 the complaints which he now
makes before the Commission. Moreover, an examination of the case as
it has been submitted, does not disclose the existence of any special
circumstances which might have absolved the applicant, according to the
generally recognised rules of international law, from raising his
complaints in the proceedings referred to. It is true that the
applicant has stated that he complained of the lack of translation
facilities to his lawyer and to the British consul. However, whatever
may have been the reason for his lawyer's decision not to appeal as
regards the alleged lack of translation facilities, the fact that the
applicant complained to his lawyer and to the British consul can
obviously not be a sufficient reason for his failure to exhaust the
remedy open to him.

It follows that the applicant has not complied with the condition as
to the exhaustion of domestic remedies and his application must in
these respects be rejected under Article 27 (3) (Art. 27-3), of the
Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission DECLARES THE REMAINDER OF THIS
APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE