Pakistan Cricket Trio Given May Court Hearing

March 18, 2011

Pakistani cricketing trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif have been committed for trial at Southwark Crown Court on conspiracy charges.

The trio were given unconditional bail ahead of the hearing on 20 May, after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday, March 17.

All three are accused of cheating and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments following the spot fixing scandal of the fourth test of last summer’s series in England, charges they deny.

Spot fixing charges relate to an alleged plot to deliberately bowl no balls and all three players have already been banned by the International Cricket Council over the affair – Butt for 10 years, with five of them suspended, Mohammad Asif for seven years, and Amir five years – suspensions which they are in the process of challenging at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

District Judge Howard Riddle stated: “There is no doubt the allegations are very serious and I know you recognize that.”

Despite being foreign nationals, the trio are entitled to apply for means-tested legal aid to pay towards the costs of their defence as they are facing charges brought by an English court and reports suggest that one of the three has already done this, with the other tow considering following suit.

They were banned after the News of the World newspaper reported no balls were bowled at specific points in England’s innings after a payment was made to a businessman.