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European Commission Of Human Rights (Myra Hindley)

Volume 82: debated on Monday 1 July 1985

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asked the Attorney-General what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to be represented at the European Commission of Human Rights in the case being brought by Myra Hindley; and if he will make a statement.

I have seen press reports that Miss Hindley is proposing to make an application to the European Commission of Human Rights. But I have no information about whether she has done so or what the nature of her complaint might be. The Commission will not admit a case for substantive consideration without first inviting the Goverment's comments. It has not done so yet in Miss Hindley's case, and the question of representation at any subsequent hearing is therefore hypothetical. If there were to be such a hearing the Government would, of course, be represented.

Bearing in mind the unspeakably heinous nature of Miss Hindley's crime, does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that it would be unacceptable and repellent to the public if she were manipulated out of prison by some European back door because of unrepresentative pressure group action? If her behaviour has improved, would it not be right for the prison service to find her a different role in the prison? Would it not be dangerous both to Miss Hindley and to the public if she were released?

I cannot form any view on her application's prospect of success, because I have not seen it. Indeed, I do not know whether she has submitted an application. It is worth remembering her previous application in 1980 to the Commission complaining about the Home Secretary's refusal to consider her for parole. That application was rejected by the Commission as manifestly ill-founded. Under the convention, the Commission may not deal with any application that is substantially the same as one that has already been considered.