Liverpool Labor Party Leader Joe Anderson: Michael Shields Wants to Clear His Name in Bulgaria
Novinite.com exclusive interview with Joe Anderson, Liverpool Labor Party leader. the man who led the campaign in support of Bulgaria-jailed Michael Shields
What makes you so convinced that Michael Shields is innocent?
There are a number of issues that make me completely and totally satisfied that Michael Shields is innocent. The first is my own feelings and intuition you only have to meet Michael to know that he is incapable of committing such a horrific attack on anyone. He has never been in trouble with the Police and neither have any of his family. He was and is a young man that anyone would be proud to call their son.
I have also spoken to witnesses who were there at the time of the assault on Martin Georgiev. One of these witness Ian befriended Martin Georgiev, Martin speaks perfectly good English and had his photograph taken with Ian's girlfriend which we have copies of. I also spoke to two men who were friends of the two assailants who carried out the attack, they witnessed the assault but would not give evidence against there friends, however they categorically state that Michael Shields was not with them and was not at the scene and took no part in the assault on Martin. Their evidence was the same as Ian's statement and clearly they were frightened of telling the truth about the friend's involvement in the attack on Martin. They like Ian told me that one man punched Martin in the face and knocked him out and that Martin remained motionless on the ground when the other man went and picked up a rock and then forced it down on to Martin Georgiev's head in a cowardly and disgusting act of violence.
The fact that the man responsible confessed through his Solicitor and visited the Police here in Liverpool and confessed to them is also a major factor. This man also confessed in front of his own parents and in front of Michael Shields Sister and Aunt. This has been passed to the Bulgarian Authorities and ignored.
New evidence has also emerged since the trial, the Hotel Porter at the Hotel Chrystal seen Michael go up to his room some forty minutes before the assault took place. He describes Michael clearly and points out that Michael had a brace on his teeth, he describes Michael's clothing which does not include a white T-Shirt which Michael was made to wear the following day after the attack even though he did not own one.
A Finnish female student who was fifteen at the time came forward and told of her visit to Michael's room with one of Michael's friends and she fell asleep on the bottom of Michael's bed. Although she did not know it was Michael having never met him the fact that she knew someone was in Michael's bed further substantiates and corroborates Michael's claim to have been in his bed.
Michael has also passed a polygraph test (lie detector test) he volunteered to do so after a request from me to do so. The person who carried out the test, Mr Don Cargill who is the Chair of the Polygraph association of the United Kingdom said that in his professional opinion Michael not only did he not carry out the attack he was not at the scene of the crime.
The Bishop of Liverpool has been long convinced of Michael's innocence after praying with Michael in his Bulgarian prison cell. This is man of great integrity and honesty as a senior religious leader he has no doubt like me that Michael Shields has been the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice.
Do you think the way this case has been handled in the United Kingdom is satisfactory?
The United Kingdom equally failed Michael Shields in that they were concerned about prisoner transfer protocols being seen to be broken if they released Michael Shields. Where in my view they should have concentrated on the evidence and Justice for Michael Shields. Clearly any system that leaves an innocent man jailed has failed and so the UK legal system failed as did the Bulgarian system. In the UK this case would never have got to trial because it was purely based on ID (identification) evidence. However it is very clear to anyone that Michael was chained to a radiator while under arrest in the Police station, people where walking past and pointing at him, he was then taken to the scene of the crime, handcuffed inside the car for ten minutes where people were gathered pointing and staring at Michael. Michael's picture was also produced and printed in the local press. The Bulgarian justice system does not allow for any new evidence to be heard and that is a flaw in your system.
If for instance Graham Sankey or anyone else for that matter confessed to the crime in Bulgaria and gave your Judicial system cast iron evidence that it was they who carried out the attack your system would simply say the matter is closed. The Bulgarian system is barbaric and has no place in a modern and fair system based on justice and I hope for your citizen's sake it changes.
Would you agree that Mr Shields has the right to have his name cleared in open court?
I would totally agree that Michael Shields should have the right to clear his name in open Court and hopefully in Bulgaria the Country that wrongly convicted him.
What did Mr Shields share with you after his release?
Michael did not share a great deal with me after his release he is a very shy young man, he was very emotional and understandably so, as was his parents knowing he had been released to go home for good. We have discussed many things over the days since his release and the main thing is he wants to remove the stain of the conviction from his good character. He would very much like and hopes that he will be given the opportunity to prove his innocence in your Country. He is willing to co-operate in any way he can with anyone who can assist in highlighting the miscarriage of justice and hope your fellow citizens will be willing to listen to him. Michael would like to visit Bulgaria and tell the people of Bulgaria that he is innocent. Given he is now a free man why would he want to do this if it where not for the fact that he is innocent.
If there is fresh evidence and it incriminates Graham Sankey, should Bulgaria be informed and encouraged to seek an extradition order so they can put him on trial for attempted murder?
I have written to your then President Mr Penov on two occasions asking for INTERPOL to be asked to look into the matter and investigate the claims made by the new evidence. I also visited the Bulgarian Ambassador here in the UK and asked for his support in persuading your Country to do this. This was turned down time after time, the answer being that the UK has the power to release Michael if they so wish was the reply I got regularly. I have made requests for him to be extradited in the past and Bulgaria should be encouraged to find the truth about what happened that night this includes doing everthing they possibly can to get justice for Martin Georgiev including extradition and new trials.
Should Graham Sankey be punished if found guilty?
Anyone who carries out such an evil and despicable act of violence should be punished.
I'm not holding up Bulgaria as a model of judicial rectitude, but don't you think Shields release pushed into the background what many have called the Lockerbie fiasco?
I think your clutching at straws here by using the Al-Mgrahi case. The fact is he was released by the Scottish Parliament and not the UK Government, he was released on compassionate grounds because he had terminal cancer and had months to live. Michael Shields was released because the UK Government found him to be morally and technically innocent and there was no way to have a retrial so he was granted a pardon. These are two completely different issues. The Parliament in Scotland makes its own decisions and is a different political party called the SNP they have made it perfectly clear that they done no deal with the UK Government and quite frankly anyone who knows anything about the politics in the UK knows that the SNP despise the UK Government and would do nothing to assist them whatsoever.
The case of Michael Shields and the miscarriage of justice that occurred has been raised by me as Labour Party Leader in Liverpool. I have criticised the Government on many occasions it is pure fantasy to say this was either political or an attempt to defer criticism from the Government in some form of conspiracy. I would have nothing to do with such a decision. We are talking about a young man who has had four and a half years taken away from him which can never be returned.
I will finish by saying once again that your Country and its people, Martin Georgiev and Michael Shields never received justice. If what we have said raises any doubts at all about the safety of this conviction then everyone should do everything in there power to eliminate all doubt only then can we ever be satisfied with the safety of the conviction. There should never be any doubt.
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It was a peaceful and productive forum; lively, congenial and a bounteous source of useful information. Then one day, completely without warning, Vagabond reared his ugly head from the depths and blew his scalding breath on everything in his path. A phalanx of Warriors mobilized to attack the monster, only to be crushed like so many toy tanks under Vagabond's mighty feet. Vagabond soon reduced the forum to searing and consuming flames. Just as abruptly, he rumbled back beneath the waves, leaving all to tremble in fear of his return. Net life would never be the same.
Just couldn't be arsed to log in. Haven't even read anything on here for donkey's years so thought I'd pop in and see how you wuz 'owl' gett-ink on and it appears the old-age-home conflicts, lovers' quarrels and all the bovine sheepshaggers' mud-hut conferences are as vivacious as ever!
Thank fook for tha'!
" The poll proves nothing."
Either that, or you are too dumb to understand it. I vote for the latter.
The poll proves that Michael Shields is considered innocent by 90% of voters and only 10% of delusional Bulgarians think he is guilty. Piss off with your stupidity!!!
Not only that, but the real issue here, and remains the real issue, is whether any country has the right to overturn the verdict of a foreign court.
We now have two cases on the books. A Libyan court convicted Bulgarian nurses, and then let them go home. Bulgaria promptly pardoned them.
A Bulgarian court convicted Shields, and then let him go home. England promptly pardoned him.
What I'm afraid is going to happen is that in the future it's going to be a lot harded for countries to get their convicted citizens out of foreign jails.
In neither of the cases, was much interest shown in the rights of the victims. And now we have a third case pending of the Australian soldier.
It will bear good watching, because it's a very sensitive issue.
Most people agree with you on this issue. Take a look at the poll asking people if they think Michael Shields is innocent. Over 1000 people said he is innocent and approximately 100 people said he is guilty. 10 to 1 people think he is innocent.
I say that whoever threw the rock is not guilty either. He was drunk and therefore he was mentally impaired. And as you say, the bar allowed him to get drunk. The road was full of rocks, which is the fault of the municipality for not maintaining it. If the bar had not got him so drunk and if the road was not full of rocks, none of this would have happened.
"everything i said was the truth ,but iam sorry if it upsets the village idiot ,michael shields is totaly innocent..."
That is a matter of opinion. The court has ruled, and that's that. Now suppose you Liverpudlians quit raving about it on this forum? It isn't going to change anything.
everything i said was the truth ,but iam sorry if it upsets the village idiot ,michael shields is totaly innocent ,as for the british drunks yes they are a disgrace but the people who only to willing to sell them alcahol till they cant stand or carry out such disgracful attack are no better ,the people who sold the thug drink must take some of the blame, maybe thats why so meny of the doormen emplyed on the clubs in golden sands stood in the witness box claiming michael attacked martin georgiev because michael wasnt drunk and wasnt high on drugs ,have you ever wondered if so meny doormen witnessed the attack by three youngmen ,did they realy stand there and do nothing ,are they liars or just cowards, if the bulgarian government investigates this case it wont be just the thug who commited the crime going to prison but the member of his family who took money to the policemen who released him ,but all those who shared the ВЈ93,000 paid in compensation,because martin georgiev only got paid enough to point the finger at michael ,dispite is first statement saying he did not see who throw the rock on is head ,
you are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo HIGHLY EDUCATED,that you EVEN did
not comprehend what I said!
I did NOT mention the UK judicial system being established EARLIER or LATER than the BULGARIAN...
I said that Bulgaria existed as a STATEHOOD(if you know what it means)
longer than the WORD "English" existed!
Read your history...since when ENGLAND exists?
Your allegations DO NOT HAVE ANY GROUNDS...DO YOU HAVE EVIDENCE?
And stop offending me...that is what the UK hooligans can do...ONLY
offending,beating, ijuring,killing peole in the countries,where they go IN ORDER TO
THEMSELVES TO DEATH!