Away from all the on-the-field World Cup action, Wednesday was a triumphant day for Liverpool football fan Michael Shields as he finally received his freedom after spending four long years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Shields was imprisoned back in 2005 following claims that the Liverpudlian attempted to murder Bulgarian citizen Martin Georgiev following Liverpool’s 2005 UEFA Champions League win. Four years on, Shields was finally released yesterday having won the battle to clear his name, with the Justice Secretary Jack Straw confirming the issue a royal pardon, saying that Mr Shields was “morally and technically innocent.”
Unfortunately though the matter has not passed without controversy. Reacting to the news of Shields’ release, former Bulgarian deputy prime minister Ivailo Kalfin publicly stated that he was “very shocked by the decision” and it “gave a very bad signal to football hooliganism.”
Kalfin: “I feel that, over the past few days, political considerations took over the need for justice and I am really disturbed with it. Jack Straw has to find some explanation for his decision but this is not convincing - several people saw the attack. Mr Shields has been convicted, and we have received no written confession from anyone suggesting otherwise.”
A Sky News report into the pardon of Michael Shields can be seen here.