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KARACHI: Pakistan’s suspended former captain Salman Butt said yesterday he asked an anti-corruption tribunal to put off a hearing next month so he can deal with any possible criminal proceedings in London.
The 26-year-old, along with pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, was provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on charges of spot-fixing during Pakistan’s Lord’s Test against England in August.
The trio face an ICC tribunal in Doha from January 6-11, which will decide whether the suspension turns into a ban or they are absolved of the charges.
“I have requested the hearing to be put off so that I can settle the possible case in London and the ICC tribunal will hold a tele-conference on Wednesday to take a decision on my request,” Salman said.
The trio face a potential criminal case from Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, which received two reports from Scotland Yard police who raided the Pakistani team’s hotel in London.
British newspaper the News of the World claimed several Pakistani players took money to obey orders from an alleged book-maker Mazhar Majeed at Lord’s.
Salman said British-based lawyer Yasin Patel will fight his case in Doha and other lawyers helped him send a reply to the ICC.
“Patel will be my lawyer but we want to settle the Crown Prosecution case first, if it is initiated, and then fight the ICC charges,” said Salman.
Aamer and Asif do not intend to seek to delay the ICC case. “We want to attend the Doha hearing,” Aamer’s lawyer Shahid Karim said. “Maybe Salman’s lawyer needs time to prepare for the case but we want to attend the January hearing.”
Salman last week reiterated his innocence.
“I have not done anything such as this (spot-fixing) in all my life or cricketing career,” Salman told Sky television. “I hope I will be cleared and will play for my country again.”
Karim, Amir’s lawyer, said he would have preferred an independent tribunal to adjudicate on the charges against his client over the spot-fixing controversy, instead of the three-man panel set up by the ICC.
“Looking at the case from a legalistic point of view, from the point of view of the case being presented to an independent and unbiased tribunal, then I think he has a fair chance of coming out clean,” Karim told PakPassion.net.
“However the situation is an odd one. Ideally we would have liked the tribunal to be completely independent of the ICC, but at this point in time I have to have full faith in the tribunal.”
The ICC’s three-man tribunal includes Michael Beloff QC, Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa and Sharad Rao of Kenya. Beloff, the ICC code of conduct commissioner, had chaired the hearings into the appeals of Amir and Butt against their suspensions in Dubai, and had upheld the ICC’s decision. Subsequently, the PCB revoked the central contracts of the players.
Beloff’s prior participation in the hearings drew objection from Karim. “We raised a slight objection to Michael Beloff QC chairing the hearing in Doha, as he had heard the case in the provisional hearing, but he chose not to remove himself,” Karim said. “However, my training as a lawyer requires me to have full faith in the forthcoming tribunal and I should expect a fair hearing.
“Although the members of the three-man tribunal are already part of the anti-corruption commission which is a permanent body in the code of the ICC and are nominated by the ICC, and the tribunal members have been picked out of those members, I still think that I have faith in their independence and impartiality.”
Karim was confident of a verdict in favour of Amir, claiming there were certain mitigating circumstances in his case.
“One of the mitigating factors is age and the other mitigating factor is Amir’s previously unblemished record,” he said. “Emotionally he is drained, he’s been affected badly by it, but he’s coping as best he can and above all he is very confident that he will come out of this clean.”
And in the event of an unfavourable verdict for Amir, Karim said he would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
“If the hearing does not go our way we plan to take the matter further. The next stage of the process would be to go to the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne. It is an international arbitration body set up to settle disputes related to sport and would be completely independent and divorced of the ICC.”