Bulgarian Court: UK Deliberately Marred Our Image over Shields' Case

Crime | April 28, 2006, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgarian Court: UK Deliberately Marred Our Image over Shields' Case The Supreme court's decision in Michael Shields’ case is final and cannot be appealed. Photo by BTA

Bulgaria's Supreme Cassation Court stated in its sentence of UK football fan Michael Shields that the UK had deliberately tried to undermine the image of Bulgaria's justice system during the trial.

The Court's 21-page-long decision states that "the public opinion in the defendant's country has been deliberately manipulated through selective reporting of only part of the information." This aimed at compromising the Bulgarian court system by creating a wrong idea of whether Bulgaria is a state committed to the rule of law, the court said.

"British football fans have misbehaved for several days and nights in Bulgaria, rudely disregarding the hotel rules and vandalizing public spaces," the sentence points out.

Sheilds' sentence was lowered from 15 to 10 years in jail on Friday. He was found guilty of attempted murder, and will have to pay the victim Martin Georgiev EUR 100,000 in damages.

The court's decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Throughout the trial Shields maintained that he was innocent, claiming that he was asleep in his hotel room when the assault over Bulgarian bartender Georgiev took place. His lawyer claimed that there had been mistakes in the investigation and that the verdict was unfair.

Another Liverpool fan Graham Sankey, 20, later confessed to the crime but refused to come back to Bulgaria and give evidence in person. Consequently the Bulgarian authorities refused to consider the evidence. Sankey later retracted his confession.

The two were holidaying in the Bulgarian Golden Sands resort after seeing their favorite team win the Champions League final.
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