Pakistan trio reach London court for sentence hearing

Former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Asif arrives at Southwark Crown Court on November 2, 2011 in London Getty Images

London: Nov 2, 2011

All the three Pakistan players found guilty of spot-fixing appeared together for the first time in a local court here today with paceman Mohammad Aamer turning up for a special hearing.

Former captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who were found guilty of conspiring to cheat and conspiring to accept corrupt payments by a jury yesterday, were joined by their former team-mate Aamer at the dock of Southwark Crown Court on the 21st day of the trial.

Aamer, who had pleaded guilty at a pre-trial to bowling two pre-determined no-balls at the Lord’s Test last year, appeared at the court with his barrister Henry Blaxland QC as the sentencing process began.

He wore a grey suit and black shirt with his hair still at shoulder length. He had a dock security officer to his left and a female Urdu interpreter to his right. Next to her was Asif, and then Butt to his right.

Aamer or his barrister is expected to be heard by Justice Cooke before all three players know their fate from the judge who would announce the quantum of sentences of the trio later.

The development has led to huge interest in the trial from the public and media.

Aamer’s barrister explained to Justice Cooke that his client would not be giving evidence.

Blaxland pointed out that he had handed the judge a 19-page file of mitigation. Subsequently, a recess was called at 11.30 local time to allow the judge enough time to read the file.

The jury was officially released from the case yesterday but were given permission to attend the conclusion of the trial by Justice Cooke.

The Southwark Crown Court yesterday found Butt and Asif guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments for fixing part of the Lord’s Test against England last year. (PTI)