THE FACTS

The facts now under consideration relate to an alleged interference
with the applicant's effective exercise of his right of individual
petition under Article 25 of the Convention.

The applicant is a citizen of the United Kingdom, born in India in 1923
and now detained in H.M. Prison, Wormwood Scrubs. In the proceedings
before the Commission he was represented by his wife, Mrs. X.

His application concerned an allegation, that during criminal
proceedings for fraud, his counsel spoke privately to the judge and
then put improper pressure on the applicant to plead guilty. The
Commission considered it on 23 March 1972 and decided that the evidence
submitted did not show that the applicant had been subjected to any
such improper pressure. The complaint was therefore declared
inadmissible as being manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of
Article 27, paragraph (2), of the Convention. Insofar as the applicant
could be said to complain of the proceedings on sentence, that
complaint was also declared inadmissible as being manifestly
ill-founded.

The Commission finally noted that the applicant's case had been
presented on his behalf by his wife. She had stated that he was unable
to present his own case. The Commission considered this allegation
under Article 25 (1) in fine of the Convention which states that the
Government concerned undertakes not to hinder in any way the effective
exercise of the right of petition. It noted that a reply was awaited
to a letter from the Secretary asking for further particulars of this
complaint and it decided to adjourn its examination of the alleged
interference with the effective exercise of the applicant's right of
individual petition under Article 25.

The applicant's wife has now made further submissions on this point.
The position appears to be as follows:

The application was first introduced by Mrs. X. in April 1971. On 23
June 1971 the applicant himself wrote to the Commission confirming his
wife's authority to act on his behalf.

On 16 February 1972, after a preliminary examination of the case by a
group of three members on 11 February (Rule 45, 1 of the Commission's
Rules of Procedure), Mrs. X. was asked to explain, inter alia, why her
husband was unable to present his own case. She replied on 21 February:

"The reason my husband is not applying himself is that, he has depended
on British justice all along ... My husband ... wrote to the Home
Office asking them if he could apply to your good selves, they refused
and said that his wife could do so, so I myself knowing my husband's
position wrote to you."

Mrs X. wrote again on 6 March 1972:

"As far as my husband's position is in prison establishment, in which
he is placed, it would be quite impossible for him to gather the
necessary information, documentary or otherwise, to present his
petition in its fullness, to give you a close picture of the situation
in question, therefore, to assist you fully to reach a decision that
was fair and correct for him and the authorities concerned. I must say
the prison authorities in his establishment are most kind and helpful
within the limits of the regulations allowed to them. Indeed they are
most helpful within the limits. It is therefore fallen on to me to
fulfil those wifely duties to aid and protect my husband in his present
position."

On 10 March the Secretary to the Commission asked Mrs. X. to submit a
copy of the letter her husband had written to the Home Office. She
replied on 18 March:

"I have submitted all the documentary evidence to you and have replied
your questions to the best of my knowledge. I have no further evidence
to produce. I am not very sure about the correspondence with the Home
Office in connection with the application to your goodselves, I have
to confirm with my husband...".

On 30 March Mrs. X. was informed by the Commission's Secretary that the
application had been declared inadmissible and she was asked whether
she wished to add anything to what she had already said about
correspondence with the Home Office. Her reply, dated 5 April 1972, was
as follows:

"... I confirmed with my husband about the petition to your goodselves,
he says that, when he was in the Scrubs Prison he had to ask the prison
authorities to apply on his behalf to Home Office for permission to
apply to you, but it was refused and they mentioned that the wife had
a right to do so if she so wished.

Direct correspondence in this matter was prohibited by the authorities
and resulting from this confirmation, I applied to your goodselves as
I am free to do so."

On 12 April 1972 the Secretary wrote to Mrs X. attempting to clarify
this and requesting copies of any correspondence. Mrs X's letter, dated
18 April, contained the following passages:

"I have explained to you that my husband or anyone else did not have
any correspondence in writing with the Home Office, so therefore
unfortunately I cannot forward to you any copies of correspondence as
requested.

I was further informed by my husband that the Governor of the Scrubs
Prison refused altogether the idea of my husband corresponding with the
Home Office and the prison officer gave him the wrong information that
they had corresponded by phone or any other mean and that the Home
Office is not aware of the application to you, I don't think that it
is necessary because I am applying and not my husband, as I am free to
do so."

THE LAW

Mrs. X. has given various explanations of why it was necessary for her
to present the application on behalf of her husband. The only positive
reason given to explain the fact that Mr. X. did not originally present
his own case was that "he had depended on British justice all along".

In fact Mrs. X. applied to the Commission on behalf of her husband and
was fully able to present her husband's case. It follows that, even on
the supposition that the authorities interfered with the applicant
corresponding himself with the Commission, it has not been suggested
that this affected adversely the presentation of his case and there is,
therefore, no indication of any conduct on the part of the authorities
which might be considered inconsistent with the undertaking contained
in Article 25 (1) (Art. 25-1) in fine of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission

DECIDES TO TAKE NO FURTHER ACTION IN RESPECT OF THE ALLEGED
INTERFERENCE WITH THE EFFECTIVE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT OF INDIVIDUAL
PETITION