Duo see appeals dismissed

High Court decides prison sentences should stand

Last Updated: 23/11/11 5:24pm

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Amir (L) and Butt (centre) saw appeals dismissed in the High Court.

Amir (L) and Butt (centre) saw appeals dismissed in the High Court.

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Disgraced Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir had their appeals against their prison sentences dismissed in the High Court on Wednesday.

At the start of the month the duo were handed custodial terms for their parts in the spot-fixing scam that rocked world sport.

Ex-Test captain Butt, 27, was jailed for 30 months on November 3 for his role as the "orchestrator" of a plot to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test against England last summer.

Amir, 19, who had been tipped to become one of the all-time great fast bowlers, was detained for six months in a young offenders institution after he admitted bowling two intentional no-balls at Lord's.

The pair appealed those punishments but saw the challenges thrown out by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, who was sitting with two other judges.

Butt and Amir were not present at the Court of Appeal in London for the decision.

Rejected pleas

The judges rejected a plea that Butt's sentence was "manifestly excessive" and the argument that Amir should have received a suspended sentence.

Lord Judge said the court had to make clear that what the cricketers did was "not simply a matter of breaking the rules of the game" and therefore subject to internal discipline and regulation.

"It is also criminal conduct of a very serious kind which must be marked with a criminal sanction," he said.

Earlier, Ali Bajwa QC, for Butt, argued that his sentence was "out of proportion to the seriousness of the offence that was committed". Although serious, he claimed it was at the "lower end of the scale" of such offences.

Mr Bajwa described Butt as a broken man in a state of "ruin and disgrace".

He told the appeal judges: "The very fact of conviction and imprisonment amounted to exceptional punishment for Mr Butt."

Henry Blaxland QC, for Amir, had urged the court to impose a suspended sentence of a length that would enable his immediate release.

Notorious case

As well as the sentences imposed on Butt and Amir by a judge at London's Southwark Crown Court, former world number two Test bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, received a 12-month prison term for delivering one of the fraudulent no-balls.

Mazhar Majeed, 36, the London-based sports agent at the heart of the fixing scandal, was jailed for two years and eight months.

Lord Judge described it as a "notorious" case in which the three cricketers, who had the "distinction and privilege" of representing their country, had taken bribes.

He described the corruption as "carefully prepared", adding: "It was not set up on the spur of the moment and it was not the result of some temptation to which either appellant succumbed, in effect, on the spur of the moment.

"These three cricketers betrayed their team, they betrayed the country which they had the honour to represent and betrayed the sport that had given them their distinction - and of course betrayed all the very many followers of the game throughout the world."

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