UK Justice Secretary Refuses to Pardon Shields
UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw has refused an appeal for a pardon by jailed football fan Michael Shields.
Shields was jailed for 15 years in Bulgaria in 2005 for the attempted murder of barman Martin Georgiev, who had a rock dropped on his head in Varna. His sentence was later reduced when he was transferred to a UK prison.
Shields, like a number of Liverpool fans, had broken the journey home from Istanbul following Liverpool FC's European Cup victory in Turkey.
In a provisional decision on Thursday, Straw was unable to conclude the 22-year-old was "morally and technically innocent", a Ministry of Justice spokesman said.
Liverpool city councillor Joe Anderson, who has spearheaded the drive to free the Reds fan, said: "We have only just heard and I am on my way to see Michael's parents to discuss it."
The Ministry of Justice said a High Court judgment in December last year set a "very high" bar for granting what is known as a free pardon.
The Justice Ministry spokesman said: "Straw has made his decision in accordance with the High Court judgment of 17 December 2008 which indicated that, in order to grant a free pardon, he would have to be satisfied that Shields was morally and technically innocent.
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consider this no you consider this ,the thug who commited the crime is arrested within 30 minuites of the crime held in a cell for 24 hours on his own not put in a line up ,he is questioned for only 25 minuites ,the police return to the hotel go to another room with five teenages ask one of them to go with them to help them with a line up,he is taken to the scene of the crime were witnesses come and look at him,he is then taken to a police station ,no room in the cells so is handcuffed to a radiator in the voyer for sixteen hours for more witnesses to see him,the person who was arrested first is allowed to to leave when a member of his family arrives from the uk if you read the pages of this paper does this sound familier are you aware that one of the policemen involved was in turkey boasting that they recieved a lot of money under the table to get the culprit out of bulgaria,also boasting how he beat michael despite knowing he was innocent does that sound familier,getting a pardon in the uk is not the end of this case the fight to get justice against the thug who commited the crime and the currupt officails who set up an innocent 18yr boy ,for a crime he was not innvolved in
Before you go any farther, consider this:
Shields was tried and convicted in a Bulgarian court. He could have, and probably should have, been kept there to serve his sentence.
But Bulgaria consented to let him leave and serve his sentence in England.
Now if does get pardoned, what will that do to anyone else who's tried in a foreign country? If you send a convicted criminal out of the country, only to have him pardoned, why should you let any more go?
This is what Jack Straw has to consider. There has to be a better reason than emotion to overturn the decision of a foreign court.