Timeline: Football fan's fight for justice

Here is a timeline of the Michael Shields case:



July 2005: Liverpool fan Shields, then 18, is convicted of the attempted murder of barman Martin Georgiev during a fight in Golden Sands, Varna, Bulgaria, on May 30.

* The teenager, who was staying in the resort after watching his team win the Champions League final in neighbouring Turkey, denied any involvement in the fracas - he says he was asleep in his hotel at the time. He is jailed for 15 years.

* Another Liverpool man, 20-year-old electrician Graham Sankey, made a confession to the attack but the evidence was ruled inadmissible at Shields' trial. Mr Sankey's solicitor later suggests it may have been an entirely different fight in which his client took part.

October 2005: Shields appears before a court in Varna to appeal against the sentence.

November 2005: The court gives its verdict, no reduction.

* Relatives and local MP Louise Ellman deliver a 70,000 strong petition to Downing Street over the case.

March 2006: Shields appears in the Supreme Court in Sofia to appeal against his conviction. His father, also Michael, says he is "hopeful" his son will be granted a retrial.

April 2006: The court reduces the sentence from 15 years to 10 years but refuses to grant a retrial.

October 2006: The Foreign Office confirms that Shields will finish his sentence in the UK. It is reported that the Bulgarian authorities refused to release him to a UK prison until a fine of £90,000 (including interest) was paid, which the family has now been able to do.

November 2006: Shields arrives in the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence.

May 2007: Judges at the European Court of Human Rights have rejected an appeal by Shields, his family says. He had claimed that his rights were violated during the trial.

November 2007: Hopes rise that he could be freed as the Bulgarian government says it is up to the British government to pardon him.

The Ministry of Justice says that in general terms pardons are only granted where the case cannot be referred to an appellate court, and where new evidence shows the individual concerned did not commit the offence.

* Mrs Ellman uses parliamentary privilege to name Graham Sankey and Steven Clare as launching the assault. She claims two men present at the attack had identified the duo, and that four new witnesses have come forward backing Shields' innocence.

December 2007: Shields has emerged from a lie-detector test "with flying colours", Mrs Ellman says.

January 2008: Bulgarian president Georgi Parvanov tells British MEP Arlene McCarthy that he will not pardon Shields.

October 2008: Shields wins the right to a judicial review of his case.

November 2008: The Bishop of Liverpool spoke of the "travesty of justice" of the case.

December 2008: The judicial review of Shields' case is heard at the High Court and two senior judges rule that Justice Secretary Jack Straw did have the "power and jurisdiction" to exercise the ancient royal prerogative of mercy in his case.

February 2009: Merseyside Police look into the facts surrounding the Shields case at the request of Mr Straw.

June 2009: Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Mr Straw would make the "best and fairest decision" he could after reviewing the papers in the case.

July 2009: Justice Secretary Jack Straw provisionally refuses an application for a pardon.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Manager - SAS - Data Warehouse - Banking

£350 - £365 per day: Orgtel: Manager, SAS, Data Warehouse, Banking, Bristol - ...

Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

£35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment