Judge permits majority verdict


The judge in the spot-fixing trial of former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif told the jury Monday he would accept a majority verdict. After three days of deliberations by the jurors at Southwark Crown Court in London, judge Jeremy Cooke was informed Monday that they could not reach a decision they all agreed upon. He told the six men and six women to try to reach an unanimous verdict but said he would now accept a majority verdict of 10-2.
They still did not reach a decision and so were sent home to resume their deliberations for a fourth day at 1000 GMT Tuesday, the 20th day of the trial.
Butt, 27, arrived at court Monday wearing a grey pinstripe suit, a white shirt and a scarf around his neck, carrying a newspaper. Asif, 28, arrived in a black suit with a blue shirt and a grey overcoat over his arm.
CRICINFO adds: Before the jury re-entered Court No. 4 at Southwark Crown Court at 15.20, and while the galleries anticipated a verdict on the 19th day of the trial, the judge explained that the jurors were unable to agree on everything. He then issued the following direction to them. “If you are unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any particular one of the counts then I can take a majority decision from you, which is one on which at least ten of you agree,” Justice Cooke told the jury.
The general feeling inferred was that the jury has agreed on some of the charges with either of the two players on trial, but could not reach agreement on both charges for both players. The new guidance from the judge is likely to hasten a definitive verdict, possibly on Tuesday, now that some flexibility has been afforded the 12 jurors.
All types of scenarios are possible for each charge facing both players. The jury, which was first retired to debate a verdict at midday on Thursday, was consistently urged to reach a unanimous verdict by the judge but having deliberated for almost three days, he has now given them some leeway.