Butt gets 2 years 6 months in jail, Asif gets 1 year, Amir six months



Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, has been sentenced to two years and six months in jail for his role in the spot-fixing case; Mohammad Asif has got a one-year jail sentence and Mohammad Amir six months. Mazhar Majeed, the players' agent, has been sentenced to two years and eight months.

"It's clear you were the orchestrator of these matters," Justice Cooke told Butt. "You had to be to make sure these two bowlers were bowling at the time of the fix."

To Asif he said: "Whilst no money was found in your possession, it's clear that you conspired to bowl a no-ball. There's no evidence on your part of prior fixing but it's hard to see that this could have been an isolated incident."

The judge began proceedings with his summation of the case of each of the four found guilty, reading out their sentences one at a time, and his initial words suggested jail terms for all four guilty.

"Now, when people look back at a surprising event in a game or a surprising result or ever in the future there are surprising results, followers of the game who have paid to watch cricket or who have watched cricket on TV will wonder whether there has been a fix or what they have watched was natural."

There were frantic scenes in and around courtroom number four on Thursday morning at Southwark Crown Court, as media and members of the public crammed to witness the sentencing.

The guilty entered the court last after a crazy scrummage for seats by media workers and public. Even regular court reporters commented that they had not seen such desperation in court to be present for sentencing of a trial.

Butt and Asif were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments by a jury on Tuesday, while Majeed and Amir pleaded guilty at a pre-trial in September. It all followed the now infamous three pre-determined no-balls that were delivered in the Lord's Test match last year, two by Amir and one by Asif, orchestrated by Butt and arranged by Majeed.

On Wednesday, all three players offered closing submissions via their lawyers with the hope that the judge would spare them a jail sentence. Amir's statement, read out to the court by his lawyer Henry Blaxland QC, was the most heartfelt and remorseful; he spoke of how proud he was the first time he was handed his Pakistan shirt and that he wanted to sleep in it.

Butt's lawyer Ali Bajwa QC spoke of how his client had been very different in his behaviour over the last 24 hours since his guilty verdict was handed down and had not eaten or slept in that time. Asif's plea was similar; his lawyer Alexander Milne spoke of how Asif had gone into debt by travelling to England four times at his own expense, since his arrest, to consult with lawyers.


Source : CricInfo