HomeAbout GeorgeWorking for youLocal informationHelp and adviceExpensesContact me
  The release of Michael Shields

All credit to the Shields family and their MP, Louise Ellman, for their huge efforts to persuade Jack Straw that the Bulgarian conviction had not taken into account evidence that has since been made available.

In Louise’s House of Commons debate on 15th July 2009, Jack Straw read out a High Court judgement:

“In principle…the grant of a free pardon would appear to require a conclusion that, taking the Bulgarian courts’ judgement for what it is and without calling in question its correctness on the material which those courts considered, fresh evidence which the Bulgarian courts did not consider, taken with the material which they did consider and their judgement upon it justifies a conclusion that Michael Shields is morally and technically innocent.”
(Hansard Column 102 WH)

The key new evidence was that, in their recent meeting with Jack Straw, Michael Shields’ family were able to demonstrate that the circumstances in which Graham Sankey’s confession was made gave it greater credibility than had been previously the case. Further work carried out by Merseyside Police gave corroboration to the Shields family’s explanation. Up until the most recent meeting with the Shields family, none of the legal submissions received by Jack Straw had produced credible new evidence which would have enabled him to comply with the terms of the High Court judgement cited above.

Having worked as a Minister with Jack Straw, I know at first hand that he is meticulous in the way he carries out his responsibilities, particularly when acting in a quasi judicial capacity.

Along with many others, I am delighted that Michael Shields has been freed.

9 September 2009

Back to recent press appearances and speeches


Search georgehowarth.org.uk





©2007-19 Rt Hon George Howarth MP for Knowsley