Statement on Michael Shields
I have read the transcript of Michael’s trial; I have visited him in prison in Varna, in Hindley, in Garth and have talked to persons in authority in each of those prisons about Michael’s conduct. Everyone has said that his behaviour has been exemplary.
Having studied the case and read the trial transcript and having talked to and listened to Michael I too believe that he is innocent. I believe that this is a travesty of justice. The impotence of the system to deal justly with his case and to instigate a review is a scandal. I have met with both the Minister of Justice and with the Bulgarian Ambassador. The Government says that it cannot order a review without the compliance of the Bulgarian Authorities. The Bulgarian Authorities say that it is no longer a matter for them. Michael’s case is lost in a chasm between two jurisdictions. It is extraordinary that this should happen to somebody especially when these two countries are within the same European Union. I am glad thqt the High Court will be determining who has the jurisdiction on December 4th.
The Bishop also added in the press conference why cannot the Bulgarian Authorities simply give permission to the British Authorities to appoint an independent judge to review the case and consider the evidence that has not yet been heard in a Court of Law.