Butt unable to appear before a London court

Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt says he wants to appear for hearing but can’t due to visa problems Getty Images

Lahore: Jul 18, 2011

Pakistan’s banned Test captain, Salman Butt will not be able to appear before a London court tomorrow for a preliminary hearing into the criminal case registered against him by the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) for corruption and cheating.

A case has been registered against Butt’s Pakistan team-mates, Muhammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, too, who are in London for the hearing at the Southwark court.

“I had applied for a visa on time to the British embassy but since I didn’t get the passport back on time I can’t go to London,” Butt said.

“I wanted to appear myself but because of the visa problems now my lawyer, Yasin Patel will represent me in the hearing,” Butt, one of the players involved in the spot-fixing case, said.

The former Pakistan skipper said if required and if his lawyer advises him he is available for a video conference.

The trio is already serving a five-year ban from the International cricket Council anti-corruption tribunal that found them guilty of spot fixing in February this year during a hearing in Doha.

The three players did not appear at the hearing, held on May 20 in the Southwark court, which ruled that regular hearing of the criminal case would begin in October.

Judge James Sanders, however, ruled that the three have to appear for the preliminary hearing in July in person or through a video link.

The date for the start of the regular hearing has been set for October 4.

Although Aamir and Asif were present in London on May 20, they did not appear in the Southwark court on advice of their lawyers. Butt did not travel to London at all.

The Crown Prosecution service will start working from July to prove their case of corruption and cheating against the three players and their Pakistani-British agent, Mazhar Majeed.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has made it clear that it would not assist the players in the Crown Prosecution case.

Butt’s lawyer, Yasin Patel told a Pakistani news agency that it was too early to say whether the shutdown of the “News of the World” tabloid, which did the expose on the spot-fixing scandal last year, would have any bearing on the case.

“We will have to see how things go but at the moment it is premature to say if the closing of the NOW can now affect the outcome of this case,” Patel added.

The trio have also asked the court of arbitration for sports in Switzerland to hold a hearing to hear their appeals against their bans by the ICC until the Crown Prosecution case is decided.