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Commenting article: Bulgaria: Failing to Target True Shields Case Culprit

The pardoning and release of Michael Shields has received a very mixed reception in Bulgaria this week and although the Liverpool public might not understand why, a mixed reception is the best the UK Justice Minister could have expected.

With his announcement on Wednesday Jack Straw really should have opened a can of worms and you can tell he knows it by the length of the statement giving reasons for his decision. The Bulgarian government however failed to react. I state this not because of the Shields pardoning but because of the admittance of guilt of another UK citizen - Graham Sankey.

For many reasons Straw picked the perfect time to make his announcement; He immediately snuffed out the challenge of Michael Shield's father who would have won a huge amount of popular support if he had done as had threatened to do and run against him in future elections. Straw also caught the new center-right Bulgarian government at a time when they are out to impress Europe in an attempt to win back millions of euros worth of frozen EU funds - part of which were stopped because of Bulgaria's failing justice system.

NellieotAmerica - 11 Sep 2009 // 22:58:57

" The truth is that if the Bulgarian judicial system and government was more confident and was not recovering slowly from years of corruption and neglect, Sankey would be a targeted man. Sadly though the alleged true culprit in this case, which is not the Bulgarian Justice system and may well not be Shields, is now going to escape from his deserved place behind bars!"

I disagree. No one should have gone to prison over this ACCIDENT. Even if Skankey did throw the rock that hit the barman, it was still an accident that he managed to hit him in the dark while being too drunk to think straight. And since the wrong man already did more than enough prison time, the debt to Bulgarian society has been amply paid. And what a joke this concept is--that the criminal pays the debt to society. It is completely the reverse--society pays with its taxes for the criminal to be kept in prison.

Bill - 11 Sep 2009 // 23:53:20


"No one should have gone to prison over this ACCIDENT"

Try writing on a subject you know someting about. The change might do you good.

Yane - 12 Sep 2009 // 22:14:04

How nice of uk to pardon but not send the criminal Sankey to justice. Shows their true face.

BritInBG - 14 Sep 2009 // 14:40:28

Bulgaria should ASK for Graham Sankey to be extradited. As the crime was committed here, he must be tried here - usually, a crime must be tried in the country where it happened and this is true even if the alleged criminal lives in a country where the same act is also a crime. Most Brits would be happy to see the true perpetrator get his just desserts.

NellieotAmerica - 14 Sep 2009 // 15:00:20


" Bulgaria should ASK for Graham Sankey to be extradited. As the crime was committed here, he must be tried here"

I disagree. The debt to Bulgarian society was already paid by the guy who was falsely imprisoned for 4 years. There is nothing to be gained by wasting the court's time and resources. They should be busy putting mutri, murderers and real criminals in jail. This is not a murder case, it is just some spoiled Bulgarian poof getting hit in the head with a rock. No big deal.

venbon - 14 Sep 2009 // 16:35:32

Common chaps,

let's be reasonable and stick to the facts:

1st Around 20 witnesses pointed Shields as the guilty one.
2nd The statement of Sankey was like "There was a fight. I threw a stone and turned back to run. Maybe I have hit s.o., but I am not sure" How does this sounds to you. To me, lke a cartoon network epizode. If you are really interested in the truth, find picture of the victim and how his skull looks like. Then you will probaly realize if this throwing and running back can cause the damage.

All in all Shields looks guilty as hell to me. However, I am happy that he is out. Somehow he looks different after 5 years in prison. Despite what he and his familly say, he knows the truth and no falsified evidences will take it out of his head.

mrposhrat - 17 Sep 2009 // 21:46:32

Brits probably look very much alike to Bulgarians. Scousers (People from Liverpool) are not known for their honesty and integrity, and it could be that Sankey was just trying to 'muddy the water' to get his mate off the hook. The victim was 100% sure that it was Shields, and what reason would he have to lie? But there is some doubt about the conviction, so a pardon is probably the best compromise. The sad thing is that the victim will never get compensation now. Maybe the true culprit should make an anonymous donation? But, I suspect that whoever actually did it has no honour!

NellieotAmerica - 17 Sep 2009 // 23:19:20


" Maybe the true culprit should make an anonymous donation? But, I suspect that whoever actually did it has no honour!"

Look, the kids were drunk, it was dark, rocks were thrown...No one knows for sure who hit what. I honestly believe that the real perpetrator is not even aware that he was the one who hit the Bulgarian.

Seedy - 18 Sep 2009 // 13:55:59

Oh dear - is this where I get "suicided" from the site?

I read that Mr Rowlands is an "expert translator" and "proof reader"....with the greatest of respect, Mr R, if you're going to put your writing in front of the world, might one suggest that you check your English syntax and then proof-read the resulting text?

As for the content, it seems to be a rehash of what everyone already knows and very handily omits the "inconvenient truth" that Sankey retracted his confession. The "confession" which prompted the pardon was allegedly made to Shield's family and appears to fly in the face of the testimony of many eye-witnesses, so quite how Straw can be "satisfied" with the facts he claims to have been presented with is a matter for conjecture.

NellieotAmerica - 18 Sep 2009 // 14:54:38

It doesn't matter who did what at this point in time. Shields already served four years in prison. This is more than enough time for hitting someone on the head when the victim isn't even dead or maimed.

NellieotAmerica - 18 Sep 2009 // 14:58:27


" so quite how Straw can be "satisfied" with the facts he claims to have been presented with is a matter for conjecture."

There is a girl who claims that Shields was in her bed when the alleged attack took place. That's how.

Anyway, the victim is not dead or handicapped. Four years is enough time to serve for an accident.

Seedy - 18 Sep 2009 // 15:04:57

"An accident"? Yeah, like if I "accidentally" throw a paving slab at someone and "accidentally" don't kill him?

The fact that this lout DIDN'T kill someone is the only accident in this case and sadly it appears that he has learned nothing from his "ordeal" other than the fact that he can become a red-top hero and make money from being a hooligan.....

NellieotAmerica - 18 Sep 2009 // 15:44:39


If you were to punish everyone for what MIGHT have happened IF.....everyone in the world would be sitting in prison.

The bottom line is that there is NO victim dead or handicapped and the guy did serve 4 years already for a non-existent crime. What MIGHT have happened is not legally punishable.

countryhick - 18 Sep 2009 // 15:51:46

Who cares???
If the Bulgarian Government care sufficiently, they should do what they always do, and send a man with an umbrella.....on Barmy Borissov's Birthday....LOL

Seedy - 18 Sep 2009 // 15:51:56

Say what? So the barman WASN'T injured and the whole fracas DIDN'T happen - is this the "non-existent" crime?

No-one was murdered, that's true enough, but to talk of someone spending 4 years in the slammer for a crime which "didn't happen" is nothing short of meaningless verbiage. To ensure that justice IS done, I've no major objection to banging them both up frankly, but since Shields has done his 4 years then let Straw send Sankey out for an all-expenses-paid stay at the Bulgarian state's expense..

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