Amir and Majeed involved: judge


Justice Cooke began his summing-up of the alleged spot-fixing trial and directed the jury to deliberate for a verdict on the basis that agent Mazhar Majeed and teenage fast bowler Mohammad Amir were “involved in spot-fixing”. The judge began his speech at about 3.45pm on Tuesday afternoon on the 15th day of one of the biggest controversies in cricket history. He told the jury he expects to take all of Wednesday to complete his overview of the evidence. Defendants Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif sat in the dock, listening intently, both smartly dressed in suits but without ties.
“You can proceed on the basis that Majeed and Amir were involved in the spot-fixing at Lord’s, as all parties agree that is the case,” the Judge said. “But don’t be concerned by their absence from this trial.”
He went on: “You should return true verdicts according to the evidence. Don’t let sympathy enter your verdicts and don’t speculate on what you might have heard outside of this courtroom. You should base your decision on the evidence alone and draw inferences, which I mean by drawing common sense conclusions.” The prosecution completed its closing speech on Monday afternoon, before Butt’s legal counsel had their closing split into two days. Asif’s defence, which was the shortest presentation of the three of about 90 minutes, ended on Tuesday afternoon.
Former captain Butt and fast bowler Asif face charges of conspiracy to cheat, and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, following the Lord’s Test in August last year when they allegedly conspired with Majeed and Amir and other people unknown to bowl pre-planned no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.
Butt not complicit: The lawyer of former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt told a jury on Tuesday that his client did not need to be in on the fix for pre-determined no-balls to have been delivered in the Lord’s Test last year. In continuing his closing speech on the 15th morning of the alleged spot-fixing trial at Southwark Crown Court, Ali Bajwa QC suggested that teenage fast bowler Mohammad Amir had been heavily involved in the fixing and possibly Mohammad Asif was also – though not Butt.
Bajwa attempted to shoot down the prosecution’s allegations that for the infamous fix of three no-balls to have occurred either a crystal ball was needed or that captain Butt had to have orchestrated the cheating, knowing which bowler would be on and when.
It was “just part of Majeed’s embellishment to the (undercover) journalist to say ‘the captain is involved’,” Bajwa told the jury, in his efforts to distance his client from the fixing.
The lawyer presented evidence to the jury that showed Asif had bowled the tenth over in all the first innings in the previous five Tests on the tour up to that point so Bajwa suggested that Majeed only had to do his research on the bowling order patterns. The lawyer also told of how, even if there was a bowling change, because of live betting trends, bets could be staked (or not) up until ten seconds of an actual event occurring, in this case the start of an over. He cited a comment from prosecution witness Ravi Sawani, a prominent anti-corruption officer who works for the ICC.