The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on 12 March
1986, the following members being present:

                  MM. C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                      J.A. FROWEIN
                      F. ERMACORA
                      G. JÖRUNDSSON
                      G. TENEKIDES
                      S. TRECHSEL
                      B. KIERNAN
                      A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                      A. WEITZEL
                      J.C. SOYER
                      H.G. SCHERMERS
                      G. BATLINER
                      J. CAMPINOS
                      H. VANDENBERGHE
                  Mrs G.H. THUNE
                  Sir Basil HALL

Mr J. RAYMOND, Deputy Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Article 25 (art. 25) of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Having regard to the application introduced on 29 August 1980 by
E.S. against the Federal Republic of Germany and registered on 19
November 1980 under file No. 9182/80;

Having regard to:

- the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of Procedure of the
Commission;

- the decision of 16 March 1984 to communicate the application for
observations on admissibility and merits in so far as the applicant
complains of the length of two criminal proceedings against him;

- the observations submitted by the respondent Government on 3 July
1985 and the applicant's reply of 6 August 1985 and 15 October 1985;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant is a German citizen, born in 1928 and living in
Oldenburg.  He is a tax consultant (Steuerberater) by profession. When
lodging the application he was in detention on remand.

In 1973 extensive investigations were started against the applicant
and others by the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Oldenburg Regional
Court in view of economic crimes, and by the Bureau of Investigations
of Tax Offences in view of tax evasion offences.  On 20 February 1973
an expert (K) was ordered to establish a report on the financial
transactions of several companies with which the applicant was
connected.  On 23 February 1973 a search (Hausdurchsuchung) was
effected in respect of the applicant and various documents were
seized.  On 25 May 1973 the applicant was informed that the tax
authorities opened criminal proceedings (Steuerstrafverfahren) against
him.

1.      The proceedings concerning the so-called Astra complex

On 3 July 1973 the expert K submitted a report concerning a complex of
suspected offences relating to a company called Astra.  In 1976 the
proceedings concerning the Astra complex were severed and prosecuted
independently.  On 25 May 1977 the applicant was convicted by the
Oldenburg Regional Court (Landgericht) in respect of this complex of
fraud and tax evasion.  On 7 April 1978 the Federal Court
(Bundesgerichtshof) quashed the judgment and sent the case back for a
new trial before the Regional Court at Hildesheim.  This decision was
mainly based on the ground that the amount of tax losses
(Steuerverluste) caused by the criminal offences was not clearly
established.

In January 1979 the applicant was indicted in separate proceedings
(see below under 2) concerning another complex of offences relating to
a company called Terra.  In view of these proceedings the Hildesheim
Regional Court requested the Public Prosecution at Oldenburg on 5 May
1981 whether the result of the so-called Terra proceedings might have
consequences for the Astra proceedings.  The Public Prosecution
replied in letters of 25 June and 16 July 198 that it was intended to
proceed in accordance with Section 154 of the Code on Criminal
Proceedings (StPO) as soon as the Terra proceedings were terminated.
On 21 September 1981 the applicant was informed accordingly.

On 9 January 1984 the Hildesheim Regional Court provisionally
discontinued the proceedings concerning the Astra complex on the
ground that the sentence liable to be passed at the end of the
proceedings was negligible in comparison with one already imposed on
the accused by final judgment in another matter (Sec 154 StPO).

On 23 October 1985 the Hildesheim Regional Court

- rejected as being inadmissible the applicant's request to
discontinue the proceedings definitively;

- imposed the costs of the proceedings on the Treasury except for the
applicant's necessary expenses;

- refused compensation for a search and seizure effected with regard
to the applicant.

As regards the applicant's request to discontinue the proceedings
definitvely the court stated that the proceedings were already ended
with binding force (rechtskräftig beendet) and could therefore no
longer be subject of a further decision.  If the discontinuance
(Einstellung) was called "provisional" this was only due to the fact
that the proceedings could be taken up under the conditions stated in
Section 154 para 3 StPO (para 3: have proceedings been discontinued
on account of another sentence, they may be taken up again, provided
prosecution is not barred by the statute of limitations, if the
sentence later becomes void).

2.      The proceedings concerning the so-called Terra complex

In the course of the proceedings concerning the Astra complex criminal
charges (Strafanzeigen) were also laid relating to the so-called Terra
complex.  Terra was the name of a company with limited liability owned
by the applicant and a co-accused, C.  On 11 July 1974 the expert K
submitted a report concerning this complex.  On 18 February 1976 the
applicant was heard as suspect (Beschuldigter).  On 15 April 1977 a
report on tax evasion (Steuerfahndungsbericht) was submitted to the
Public Prosecution incriminating also the expert K.

Due to other urgent work the investigations were not continued before
October 1977 when witnesses were heard and documentary evidence was
obtained.

In December 1977 the investigations had again to be interrupted on
account of other work.

On 18 September 1978 the Public Prosecution charged another expert (T)
to prepare a report on the Terra complex.  This report was submitted
on 20 October 1978.

On 18 November 1978 the applicant was invited to appear on 28 November
1978 to be heard in the Terra case.  His counsel replied that the
applicant refused to make any statements.

On 31 January 1979 an indictment was filed against the applicant and
two co-accused, namely his brother and C.  The applicant was accused
of tax evasion in six cases, fraud in 47 cases, forgery in forty
cases, all committed between 1969 and 1973 together with the other
co-accused.  The indictment comprised 280 pages, named more than sixty
witnesses and referred to extensive documentary evidence (seven
volumes and four dossiers (Ordner) of files; 39 dossiers with
documentary evidence; ten volumes of additional files (Beiakten);
13 dossiers with bank account slips; ten tax evasion files with
additional files; four boxes with accounting material.

Shortly before the opening of the trial the applicant had been
arrested, on 12 February 1980, and kept in detention on remand until
30 June 1982.  His requests to be released were, in second instance,
rejected by the Oldenburg Court of Appeal.  On 7 July 1980 a group of
three judges of the Federal Constitutional Court rejected a
constitutional complaint against two of these decisions (dated 23
April and 12 May 1980).

The trial was opened (Eröffnungsbeschluss) on 16 March 1980, began on
25 May 1980 and after 52 days of hearings, the applicant was convicted
by the Oldenburg Regional Court (Landgericht) on 25 November 1980 of
tax evasion in six cases, one of which in conjunction with fraud and
forgery.  He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment.  The court
further ordered that for a period of five years he was not allowed to
work as a tax consultant.  The judgment comprised 537 pages.

The court rejected as being unfounded the applicant's argument that
prosecution concerning the Terra complex was barred by the statute of
limitations.

The applicant had submitted in this respect in a memorial dated 18
November 1982 that the Terra and Astra investigations constituted two
distinct proceedings and that up to at least 1973 the investigations
exclusively concerned the Astra complex.  In particular an
interrogation in 1971 by the police was not at all related to the
Terra complex.  The Regional Court decided that a search and seizure
order given against the applicant by the Oldenburg District Court on
10 December 1973 interrupted the time limit concerning the statute of
limitations (see pp 486 et seq of the judgment of 25 November 1980).

As regards the merits of the case the court found that the applicant
and his co-accused had founded several shipping companies which did
not exercise any commercial activities.  They sold shares concerning
these companies to various persons under the false pretence that the
purchasers thereby acquired a participation in a ship and the
possibility of important write-offs for losses.  The damage caused to
the shareholders amounted to some 3.5 million DM.  As all sales were
effected in accordance with one and the same plan, the court
considered that they formed one single offence of fraud.  Vis-à-vis
the tax authorities the co-accused had committed tax evasion in the
amount of several million DM by establishing false attestations
concerning alleged depreciations.

In fixing the sentences the trial court stated (p 512) that for all
three defendants it considered the long duration of the
investigations, which was not caused by their own behaviour, to be a
mitigating factor.  Had they been convicted shortly after the
committal of the criminal acts they would have had to reckon with
considerably higher sentences (p 512 of the judgment of 25 November
1980).

As regards the fraud complex, the court considered there were
aggravating circumstances justifying the application of Section 263
(3) of the criminal Code (StGB) providing punishment of between one
and ten years' imprisonment.  The court then fixed the following
separate sentences for the different complexes:

- four years' imprisonment for the complex involving tax evasion,
fraud and forgery;

- one year six months and two years respectively for each of the
remaining five complexes of tax evasion.

Including the highest separate sentence of 4 years, the court formed,
in accordance with Section 54 StGB a global sentence (Gesamtstrafe) of
five years.

The applicant received a copy of the judgment of 25 November 1980 on
25 May 1981.  He appealed and on 22 June 1981 his defence counsel
submitted the reasons for the appeal.  The Public Prosecutor replied
on 31 August 1981 and 29 September 1981.  On 25 May 1982 the Federal
Court partly quashed the judgment appealed from and decided that the
applicant was guilty of three counts of tax evasion, one of which was
committed in conjunction with fraud and forgery.  The Federal Court
considered that the Regional Court wrongly considered certain tax
evasion manipulations to constitute separate offences (Tatmehrheit)
while they had to be considered as a single offence (Tateinheit).

The court sent the case back to the Regional Court in so far as new
sentences had to be fixed.  Insofar as the applicant had complained
that the trial court wrongly rejected a motion challenging one of the
judges the Federal Court found his allegations were not sufficiently
substantiated and his complaint could therefore not be examined as he
failed to indicate the part of the file which allegedly proved that
his complaint was well founded.

On 16 July 1982 a group of three judges rejected a constitutional
complaint which the applicant had lodged in respect of his conviction
and sentence as confirmed by the Federal Court.  It is stated, inter
alia, in the decision that even supposing the criminal proceedings
were unreasonably long this would not bar prosecution.

On 22 November 1982 the applicant was again sentenced by the Oldenburg
Regional Court to a total of five years' imprisonment.  The court also
ordered that for five years the applicant was not allowed to exercise
a tax consulting profession or to deal with shares for shipping
companies.  In fixing the sentences for the three offences which the
applicant was held guilty of, the court stated that the length of the
investigation proceedings, which was not caused by the defendants, was
a mitigating factor.

Considering all aggravating and mitigating factors it fixed separate
sentences (Einzelstrafen) of four, two and three years respectively.
In fixing the separate sentences the court took into account as a
mitigating factor the length of the investigation proceedings.  The
long duration of these proceedings, so the court pointed out, was not
caused by the defendants (Ferner fiel die lange Ermittlungsdauer die
nicht durch ihr Verhalten bewirkt worden ist, strafmildernd ins
Gewicht).  The separate sentences were combined to a global sentence
(Gesamtstrafe) of five years' imprisonment.  In forming the global
sentence the court pointed out that it again took into account that
the investigation proceedings were quite long (... dass das
Ermittlungsverfahren recht lange gedauert hat).  The court added that
particularly in view of the applicant's leading role and the damage
caused ruthlessly by him, he nevertheless deserved a heavier sentence
but the interdiction of 'reformatio in peius' prevented the court from
exceeding five years, a term which was situated in the lower range of
the global sentence that had to be formed.

The applicant and the two co-accused again appealed and the appeals
were rejected by the Federal Court on 30 August 1983.  The Federal
Court only amended the order concerning professional interdiction
limiting it to tax consulting activities.  As regards the complaint
concerning the length of the proceedings the Federal Court pointed out
that the long duration (lange Dauer) of the investigation proceedings
had been taken into account by the trial court both in fixing the
separate sentences and in fixing the global sentence.  The subsequent
court proceedings, so the Federal Court added, did not disclose any
important delays taking into account the extreme complexity
(umfangreicher Prozessstoff) of the matter.

The applicant lodged another constitutional complaint which was
rejected on 14 December 1983 by a group of three judges of the Federal
Constitutional Court as offering no prospects of success.  As regards
the complaint on the length of the proceedings it is pointed out in
the decision that both the Regional Court and the Federal Court
expressly acknowledged that the investigation proceedings were long
and that this length was not caused by the defendants.  In fixing the
separate sentences the Regional Court had, in spite of aggravating
factors, in particular damages caused by the applicant in the amount
of several million DM, by far not exhausted the scale of possible
punishments.  In fixing the global sentence the Regional Court again
took into account the length of the investigating proceedings and
reached a result at the lower range of the limits fixed by Section 54
of the Code on Criminal Proceedings.  Consequently there was nothing
to show that the criminal courts had not duly drawn the consequences
of inordinate length of the proceedings.  (Die nicht vom
Beschwerdeführer verursachte lange Dauer des Ermittlungsverfahrens ist
vom Landgericht und auch vom Bundesgerichtshof ausdrücklich
festgestellt worden.  Das Landgericht hat diesen Umstand bei der
Bemessung der Einzelstrafen strafmildernd berücksichtigt;  dabei hat
es in sämtlichen Fällen ungeachtet gewichtiger Strafschärfungsgründe,
insbesondere eines Schadens in Millionenhöhe, den Strafrahmen bei
weitem nicht ausgeschöpft.  Es hat den Umstand ferner nochmals bei der
Gesamtstrafenbildung, deren Ergebnis der unteren Grenze des nach § 54
Abs 1 Satz 1, Abs 2 Satz 1 StGB Zulässigen nahekommt, berücksichtigt.
Bei dieser Sachlage ist nicht ersichtlich, dass die Fachgerichte hier
verfassungsrechtlich geforderten Folgerungen aus überlanger
Verfahrensdauer nicht Rechnung getragen hätten.)

The applicant's subsequent request for a retrial was to no avail.

His requests to set aside or to stay the execution of the order
forbidding the exercise by him of a tax consultant's activity was
likewise unsuccessful.  A constitutional appeal concerning this matter
was rejected on 8 October 1985 as offering no prospects of success.

COMPLAINTS

The applicant mainly complains of the length of the two criminal
proceedings against him.  He submits that he was charged already in
1971 and refers to p 497 of the Oldenburg trial court's judgment of 25
November 1980 concerning the Terra complex where it is stated that he
was already informed on 6 October 1971 that investigations had been
instituted against him.  With regard to the Terra proceedings he
argues that in particular the investigation proceedings and the period
from the filing of the indictment until the judgment of 25 November
1980 were unreasonably long.  Furthermore he submits that the
presiding judge at the first trial had previously worked in the Public
Prosecutor's Office and in an adverse law firm.

In his previous submissions he also complained of his detention on
remand and considered that in view of the length of the proceedings,
the statute of limitations and his own efforts to prevent unlawful
transactions he was wrongly convicted and sentenced.

He invokes Art 5 (1)(c) (art. 5-1-c) and (3) (art. 5-3) and Art 6 (1)
(art. 6-1) of the Convention.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

Having adjourned the examination of the case in view of domestic
remedies of which the applicant availed himself subsequent to the
filing of his application the Commission decided on 16 March 1984 to
communicate for observations on admissibility and merits the complaint
on the length of the proceedings.  The Government's observations dated
28 June 1985 were received on 3 July 1985 and the applicant's reply
was submitted on 5 August 1985.  In his reply the applicant requested
the adjournment of the examination of the complaint concerning the
Astra proceedings pending his request to the Regional Court to
discontinue these proceedings definitively.  This request was repeated
in a letter of 15 October 1985.  With this letter the applicant raised
a complaint concerning a refusal of the competent courts to set aside
or to stay the execution of the order forbidding him the exercise of a
tax accountant's activity.

By letter of 1 November 1985 the applicant submitted the Hildesheim
Regional Court's order of 23 October 1985 and requested the Commission
to resume the examination of the complaint concerning the Astra
complex.

SUMMARY OF THE PARTIES' OBSERVATIONS ON ADMISSIBILITY AND MERITS

The respondent Government

1.      On the proceedings in the Astra complex

In view of the eventual discontinuation of the Astra proceedings in
accordance with Section 154 StPO it was, for reasons of procedural
economy, indicated to await the outcome of the Terra proceedings.
This served the applicant's interests at the same time. In fact he did
not raise any objections against the interruption of the Astra
proceedings pending the outcome of the Terra proceedings. From his
viewpoint the interruption was a possibility of obtaining a rebate on
the sentence he had to expect.  As expected the proceedings were
eventually discontinued and their interruption consequently benefitted
the applicant.  In these circumstances he could not claim to be the
victim of lengthy proceedings.

In any event he was no longer a victim because the discontinuance of
the Astra proceedings was a consequence also of their length and thus
remedied any possible violation.

Furthermore the applicant had, with regard to the Astra proceedings,
failed to exhaust domestic remedies as he neither invoked Art 6
(art. 6) before the Hildesheim Regional Court nor did he lodge a
constitutional complaint ont he length of these proceedings.

2.      On the proceedings in the Terra complex

The German courts in substance acknowledged a violation of Art 6 (1)
(art. 6-1) of the Convention on account of the length of the initial
proceedings and granted redress by way of a substantial and reasonable
reduction of sentence.

It is pointed out that the first trial court's judgment was quashed
for the only reason that the Federal Court considered certain offences
to have been committed concomitantly (tateinheitlich) while the
applicant's guilt remained unchanged.  Nevertheless the second trial
court considered a total of only nine years of separate sentences
(Einzelstrafen) to be adequate while the first trial court had fixed
separate sentences of a total of thirteen years.  Although the global
sentence (Gesamtstrafe) after the second trial amounted again to five
years, it had to be noted that in view of the damage of several
million DM caused by the applicant the court considered a more severe
sentence to be adequate but nevertheless remained in the lower range
of possible sentences as in fact the global sentence exeeded the
highest separate sentence by one year only while Section 54 (1) and
(2) StPO only required that the global sentence did not attain the
total of the separate sentences (ie nine years).

A comparison with sentences imposed at the same time by the Oldenburg
Regional Court in similar cases but without having to mitigate the
sentence on account of length of proceedings also showed that the
applicant profited of a substantial reduction of sentence:

damage DM 1,400,000 - four years' imprisonment
damage DM 1,500,000 - four years' imprisonment
damage DM 4,500,000 - six years' imprisonment
damage DM 2,700,000 - five years and six months' imprisonment
damage DM 930,000 - three years and ten months' imprisonment.

In the Terra complex the damage caused by the applicant was several
times more important than in the cases just cited.  It was thus
evident that the applicant benefitted from a substantial reduction of
sentence, ie a reduction of several years.  Therefore he was no longer
victim of the alleged violation.

In any event, his complaint was manifestly ill-founded.

In the Terra complex the applicant was not formally charged before 18
February 1976 when he was first heard as a suspect.  The applicant had
himself argued before the trial court that previous prosecution
measures concerned the Astra complex and not the Terra complex.

Although the pre-trial proceedings were rather lengthy it had to be
taken into account that after 18 February 1976 the Public Prosecutor
first had to await the result of tax investigations
(Steuerfahndungsbericht).  This result was available on 15 April 1977.
However, due to the Public Prosecutor's workload the investigations
could not be continued before October 1977 and had again to be
interrupted from December 1977 to September 1978.  Subsequently they
were carried through without further delay.

After the filing of the indictment on 22 March 1979 the trial could
not start before 18 March 1980 because the competent chamber of the
trial court, which was specialised in commercial crimes, first had to
terminate other matters.  After the beginning of the trial no more
delays occurred.

It was unavoidable that from time to time delays occurred with regard
to certain matters on account of priority which had to be given to
other important pending matters.  In particular with regard to
commercial crimes it was impossible for reasons of organisational and
financial character always to keep in reserve a specialised chamber
which could at any given moment immediadetly start to deal with a new
case.  It was therefore unavoidable that a chamber specialised to deal
with commercial crimes may from time to time first have to finish an
important pending trial before it can deal with a new matter.  On the
other hand it was also in the interest of procedural economy and
speediness that only a specialised chamber deal with commercial
crimes.  Taking into account that the applicant's case was of extreme
complexity, necessitating, inter alia, tax inquiries with regard to
the companies and the repercussion of tax fraud manipulations with
regard to 170 company members, the Terra proceedings, judged as a
whole, did not, in the particular circumstances, exceed a reasonable
time.  In this context it had also to be taken into account that the
length of the proceedings was considered as a mitigating factor.

The applicant

1.      As regards the Astra proceedings

The applicant submits that since 7 April 1978 when the Federal Court
quashed the trial court's judgment these proceedings were unduly
delayed and still have not been discontinued definitively.  He
therefore considers himself to be a victim of the alleged violation of
Art 6 (1) (art. 6-1) of the Convention.

2.      As regards the Terra proceedings

The applicant mainly alleges undue delays at the stage of the
investigation proceedings but also considers that the proceedings as a
whole were too long.  He argues that thereby he was negatively
affected because the fact finding became more difficult.  He also
points out that the costs of his defence were very high and that his
punishment after the second trial was severe.  He considers that after
more than eight years it could no longer be expected from him that he
manifested any particular signes of repentance, while the trial court
considered his attitude an aggravating factor and imposed the same
sentence than after the first trial maintaining even the interdiction
of his professional activity as a tax consultant.  According to the
applicant he would only have had to reckon with a maximum penalty of
three and a half years' imprisonment had he been tried within a
reasonable time.  Also, a comparison between the two judgments given
against him by the trial court showed that he was given no redress for
the undue length of the proceedings which caused substantial physical
and psychological stress and led to the destruction of his
professional career as a tax consultant.

THE LAW

1.      The applicant has complained of the length of the criminal
proceedings relating to the so-called Astra complex.

It is true that Art 6 (1) (art. 6-1) of the Convention secures to
everyone charged with a criminal offence the right to speedy
proceedings.

However, the Commission is not required to decide whether or not the
facts alleged by the applicant disclose any appearance of a violation
of this provision as, under Art 26 (art. 26) of the Convention, it may
only deal with a matter after all domestic remedies have been
exhausted according to the generally recognised rules of international
law.

In the present case the applicant was informed on 21 September 1981
that it was intended to apply Sec 154 StPO (ie to discontinue the
Astra proceedings) as soon as the Terra proceedings were terminated.
He has not shown that he objected to this way of handling the case. In
particular he failed to lodge a constitutional complaint about the
length of the Astra proceedings.

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

2.      The applicant further complains of the length of the criminal
proceedings concerning the Terra complex which led to his being
sentenced to five years' imprisonment.  He also complains of the
length of his detention on remand and alleges violations of Arts 6 (1)
(art. 6-1) and 5 (3) (art. 5-3) of the Convention which guarantee the
right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time and the right of a
detained person to a trial within a reasonable time.

(a)  As regards detention on remand, it lasted from 12 February 1980
until 25 November 1980 when the applicant was convicted in first
instance.  His subsequent detention is, for the purpose of Art 5
(art. 5), to be considered as detention under Art 5 (1)(a)
(art. 5-1-a). The period in question does in no way appear to be
excessive. This part of the application consequently is manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Art 27 (2) (art. 27-2) of the
Convention.

(b)  Contrary to the period of detention on remand, the period of the
whole proceedings is rather substantial regardless of the question
whether the applicant was already charged in 1971 or at a later
moment.  However, the Commission considers for the following reasons
that it does not have to examine the "reasonableness" of the duration
of the proceedings in question.

According to the jurisprudence of the Commission and the Court, the
failure to observe the "reasonable time" requirement in Art 6 (1)
(art. 6-1) cannot, with regard to criminal proceedings, in principle
be remedied simply by mitigation of sentence.  The Court has, however,
admitted that this general rule can be subject to an exception when
the national authorities have acknowledged either expressly or in
substance the breach of the Convention and afforded redress for it
(Eckle Case, judgment of 15 July 1982, Series A, Vol 51, para 66; see
also Commission's Report in the Eckle Case and Decision on the
admissibility of Application N° 8858/80).

In the present case the trial court acknowledged both in the judgment
of 25 November 1980 and that of 22 November 1982 that the
investigation proceedings had been "long" and "quite long"
respectively, and that this length was not caused by the applicant or
any co-accused.

The length of the proceedings was considered by the court as a
mitigating factor.  It is already stated in the judgment of 25
November 1980 that all defendants would have had to reckon with
considerably higher sentences had it been possible to convict them
shortly after the offences had been committed.

In the judgment of 22 November 1982 it is again pointed out that the
length of the investigation proceedings, which was not caused by the
defendants, was a mitigating factor.  In forming the global sentence
the trial court underligned that it once more took into account that
the investigation proceedings were quite long.  Although the applicant
deserved, according to the court, a heavier sentence, a global
sentence was formed which was, so the court pointed out, situated in
the lower range of the possible global sentence.

The Federal Constitutional Court confirms in its decision of 14
December 1983 that the criminal courts duly took account of the
"inordinate length" of the proceedings ("überlange Verfahrensdauer").
Both the Regional Court and the Federal Court expressly acknowledged,
so the Constitutional Court points out, that the investigation
proceedings were long and that their length was not caused by the
defendants.  The Constitutional Court further points out that in
fixing the separate sentences the Regional Court had, in spite of
aggravating factors, in particular damages caused by the applicant in
the amount of several million DM, by far not exhausted the scale of
possible punishments.  Again, in fixing the global sentence the
Regional Court took into account the length of the investigation
proceedings and imposed a global sentence situated at the lower limits
set by Section 54 of the Code on Criminal Proceedings (StPO).  The
Constitutional Court concludes that the criminal courts thus
adequately drew the necessary consequences of the inordinate length of
the proceedings.

The Commission considers that the above statements can, in the
circumstances of the present case, be interpreted to constitute in
substance an acknowledgement of a breach of Art 6 (1) (art. 6-1)
because by pointing out that the length of the investigation
proceedings was not caused by the defendants the German criminal
courts imply that delays were caused by the investigation authorities.

The Federal Constitutional Court is even more explicit in that it
speaks of the "inordinate" length of the proceedings ("überlange
Verfahrensdauer").

The Commission further considers that in the circumstances of the
present case the mitigation of sentence accorded on account of the
length of proceedings constitutes adequate redress.  To form the
global sentence the court had in its judgment of 22 November 1982 to
consider separate sentences amounting to a total of nine years'
imprisonment.  The lower limit was constituted by a separate sentence
(Einzelstrafe) of four years.  It is thus clear that the global
sentence of only five years was, as the Federal Constitutional Court
pointed out, in the lower scale of the possible verdicts and was quite
lenient because the trial court considered there were a number of
aggravating factors and stressed that the applicant deserved a more
severe sentence.

In these particular circumstances the Commission considers that the
applicant can no longer claim to be a victim of a violation of his
right under Art 6 (1) (art. 6-1) of the Convention to a hearing within
a reasonable time, and this complaint must therefore also be rejected
as being manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Art 27 (2)
(art. 27-2) of the Convention (cf Decision on the Admissibility of
Application N° 10884/84, 13.12.84, unpublished).

3.      The applicant has further complained that the presiding judge
at the first trial was biased.

It is true that Art 6 (1) (art. 6-1) of the Convention secures to
everyone charged with a criminal offence the right to a fair hearing.

However, the Commission is not required to decide whether or not the
facts alleged by the applicant disclose any appearance of a violation
of this provision, as Art 26 (art. 26) of the Convention provides that
the Commission may only deal with the matter after exhaustion of
domestic remedies.

In the present case the Federal Court held in its decision of 25 May
1982 that the applicant's complaint concerning bias was
unsubstantiated because the applicant failed to indicate the part of
the file which allegedly confirmed his allegations.  Furthermore the
applicant has not shown that he raised this particular point in his
constitutional complaint.  In these circumstances he cannot be
considered to have exhausted the remedies available to him under
German law.

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

4.      As to the remaining part of the application the Commission
finds that the applicant's allegations are unsubstantiated and do not
disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set
out in the Convention.

It follows that to this extent the application is likewise mannifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Art 27 (2) (art. 27-2) of the
Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission

DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.

Deputy Secretary to the Commission         President of the Commission

           (J. RAYMOND)                         (C.A. NØRGAARD)