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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
'Cruel' twist in fan retrial bid
Michael Shields in jail
Michael Shields has consistently protested his innocence
The solicitor of jailed Liverpool fan Michael Shields has branded the latest delay in his bid for a retrial as "cruel and unfair".

Shields, 19, who is serving a 15-year jail term in Bulgaria for attempted murder, was expecting a decision from the Supreme Court on Thursday.

But he found out on Friday the decision will be delayed further.

Solicitor John Weate said: "The burden now on Michael and his family is intolerable. I think it's quite cruel."

The teenager has always denied the attack on barman Martin Georgiev.

A confession from another Liverpool man, Graham Sankey, was not accepted by the Bulgarian courts.

Shields applied for a re-trial to the Supreme Court in March and was told to expect a decision within 30 days - a deadline which expired on Thursday.

Michael Shields senior
We went to see him in prison this morning and he was very despondent, as you would expect
Michael Shields Senior

On Friday, solicitor Mr Weate said the court had revealed that it considered the 30 days as an "advisory" time scale.

"They have indicated that the earliest time they will make a decision will be next week, it may well be Wednesday but it could go into May," he said.

"I've been in contact with Michael's father who is very much distressed at this news.

"I've also spent the morning liaising with the Foreign Office and have asked them to exert as much pressure as is possible to get this decision out."

Previous appeal

Michael Shields Senior revealed the court informed the family of the latest delay on Friday.

"Michael is very disappointed. He needs to know what's going on and he geared himself up to get the news this week. We all did," he said.

"We went to see him in prison this morning and he was very despondent, as you would expect. The poor lad's been in there for nearly a year now."

In November last year, Shields failed in an attempt to get his jail sentence reduced.

He has consistently protested his innocence and maintains he was in bed when a paving slab was dropped on Mr Georgiev's head in the Black Sea resort of Varna in summer 2005.

Shields was there after watching Liverpool FC's Champions League victory in Turkey.

Jailed fan faces wait over appeal
21 Mar 06 |  Merseyside
Bulgaria 'attack' fan faces ban
09 Mar 06 |  Merseyside
Blair urged to meet fan's family
30 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Council criticised over jail case
21 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Commons debates jailed fan's case
16 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
New evidence aids bid to free fan
25 Oct 05 |  Merseyside


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