Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I can't help but smell a rat about this...

I've been having a bit of a read about this Michael Shields case, and got round to reading Jack Straw's statement about it. These paragraph stood out:-

5. However, during the meeting on 28 August with Mr Shields’ parents, important new evidence came to light which, when looked at alongside all the previously available evidence, has now satisfied me that Mr Shields meets the high test set by the Court.

6. At this meeting, following a series of questions which I put to the family, I was told for the first time about a visit by two members of the Shields family to the home of a man alleged to be responsible for the crime for which Michael Shields was jailed. I was told that in the course of the visit that man made an oral confession to the crime in front of several other people. This episode, I was told, happened on 22 July 2005, a day after the start of Mr Shields’ trial in Bulgaria."

Now, I'm not a lawyer, but would the testimony by two members of the accused's family concerning an oral confession ever seriously be considered as evidence that would release a suspect? Wouldn't they consider that as family, you're hardly unbiased witnesses (they may well be telling the truth, but that's hardly the point).

But here's something interesting that we probably all missed at the time:-

The father of a football fan jailed for 15 years for a violent attack in Bulgaria is set to stand against Jack Straw in the next election.

Campaigners say Michael Shields, 22, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

His father, also Michael, is considering standing for the Blackburn seat to protest after the Justice Secretary indicated he would not pardon his son.

Then 2 weeks later, he did pardon him.

And this is why we shouldn't have political pardons. Because whether Straw made a sincere decision or not is irrelevant, there's enough about the last 3 weeks of this story to give the appearance of a politically motivated decision.

1 comment:

  1. Well spotted!

    Just two points:

    1. "Now, I'm not a lawyer, but would the testimony by two members of the accused...'. Shouldn't that read "Now, I'm not a lawyer, but would the testimony by two members of the accused's family ..."?

    2. If you write posts in html, don't put line breaks before or after blockquote tags.