police force will look into the facts surrounding the conviction of jailed Liverpool fan Michael Shields, the Ministry of Justice has announced.
Shields, 22, is serving 10 years for the attempted murder of a barman at the Big Ben diner in Varna, Bulgaria, in 2005.

MPs, clergymen, Liverpool FC players and many others have backed calls to free him on the basis that he is innocent.

In December, two senior judges ruled that Justice Secretary Jack Straw had the power to exercise the ancient royal prerogative of mercy in the case of Shields, who was convicted abroad but transferred to a UK prison to finish his sentence.

It is not thought Merseyside Police will carry out their own investigation into the attack, or visit Bulgaria.

However, officers will speak to UK-based witnesses and study new evidence which came to light after Shields was jailed.

In a statement, the Justice Secretary said: "The High Court found that I had the power to consider an application by Michael Shields for a free pardon.

"I immediately established a process to take the work forward, and appointed senior counsel to advise me.

"I recently asked Merseyside Police for their assistance in looking at certain matters arising on the application.

"The purpose of this is to ensure that in coming to a decision I can be certain that all the relevant facts, including any new evidence provided on Mr Shields' behalf, have been properly considered."