Court Cases, News & what's on - Written by on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 15:30 - 0 Comments

Over & *OUT*: Corruption convictions mean “it’s not cricket” takes on a whole new meaning

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A week ago the former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt was sentenced to 30 months in jail in the UK for conspiring to corruptly accept payments and conspiring to cheat at gambling.

The judge also sentenced players Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif to six months and one year in jail respectively and handed agent Mazhar Majeed a 32 month jail term for their part in the conspiracy.

The case was another pre-Bribery Act case.

The judge said the four would have to serve half of their sentences in custody before being released “on licence”.

Like the first conviction under the Bribery Act the corruption was exposed by News International, this time in a News of the World exlcusive story which included a sting video.  Like the first conviction under the Bribery Act – the prosecution was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The sentencing remarks set out the detail of the convictions.

In sentencing Mr Justice Cooke said that the offences were “so serious” as to merit prison sentences.

“It’s not cricket’ was an adage. It is the insidious effect of your actions on professional cricket and the followers of it which make the offences so serious,” Mr Justice Cooke said.

Mr Justice Cooke ordered all four men to pay contributions towards the costs sustained by the prosecution. Butt must pay £30,937, Amir £9,389, Asif £8,120 and Majeed £56,554, the judge ordered.

In a statement given by Sally Walsh, Senior Lawyer in the Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service, the Crown Prosecution Service said:

“Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif deliberately and knowingly perverted the course of a cricket match for financial gain. Through their actions, they brought shame on the cricketing world, jeopardising the faith and admiration of cricket fans the world over. This prosecution shows that match fixing is not just unsportsmanlike but is a serious criminal act.

“The actions of these top international players went against everything expected of someone in their position and they failed to take into account their fans of all ages and nationalities when deciding to abandon the values of sportsmanship so unconditionally.

“People who had paid good money to see a professional and exciting game of cricket on the famous ground at Lord’s had no idea that what they were watching was not a true game but one where part of the game had been pre-determined for cash.

“Butt and Asif denied any wrong doing but the jury has decided after hearing all the evidence that what happened on the crease that day was criminal in the true sense of the word.”

The convictions have led for calls for the International Cricket Council to decisively deal with corruption and for the sport to clean up its act.

This case the latest in a series of UK corruption prosecutions underscores the risk taken by those who get involved in corruption and highlight the role of the Crown Prosecution Service in prosecuting domestic corruption which takes place in the UK as distinct from the SFO’s role as lead prosecutor for international bribery.

The CPS is proving itself to be a pro-active prosecutor of bribery offences.

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