Spot-fixing: Justice Cooke's full verdict on Salman Butt

Salman Butt has been sentenced thirty months of imprisonment for his role in spot-fixing case Getty Images

By Cricket Country Staff

London: Nov 3, 2011

The judge at the Southwark Crown Court while punishing the three Pakistani cricketers for their role in spot-fixing said on Thursday that he had reserved the harshest of the sentences for former captain Salman Butt since he was the “orchestrator of the activity.”

Butt was sentenced to 30 months in prison while Mohammad Asif was handed 12 months’ sentence. Young fast bowler Mohammad Aamer, now 19, was given six-month term since he had pleaded guilty.

Here is Mr Justice Cooke’s full statement on Salman Butt.

Salman Butt

19. You have been convicted by the jury on two counts:

19.1. First conspiracy to accept corrupt payments for identifying in advance occasions when 3 no balls would be bowled in the Test match at Lord’s on 26 and 27 August last year and procuring the bowling of those no balls by your two fast bowlers, Aamer and Asif.

19.2. Secondly conspiracy to do the same acts in order to enable others to cheat at gambling.

19.3. I sentence you for matters covered by the narrowed indictment alone, relating to the no balls in the Lord s Test match, but I cannot ignore the fact that these were not isolated incidents.

20. It is clear to me that you were the orchestrator of this activity, as you had to be, as captain, in arranging for these bowlers to be bowling the overs which were identified in advance to Majeed and which he identified to the NOTW journalist. You were a natural captain, picked out as such from the age of 17 for national teams, and had the advantage of a good education. You were a man of status. As I have already said, you bear the major responsibility for the corrupt activities, along with Majeed. The evidence of the text exchange between you and Majeed in the West Indies in May 2010 shows your involvement in such activities outside the scope of the period covered by the indictment.

21. I sentence you in respect of the no balls bowled at Lord’s alone but bear in mind your prior agreement in respect of the maiden over at the Oval, of which telephone evidence was heard, as well as the West Indies exchanges.

22. Because of your leadership status, your direct involvement with Majeed and your key role in directing the corrupt activities, you are more culpable than either of your two bowlers.

23. I consider that you were responsible for involving Aamer in the corruption an 18 year old from a poverty stricken village background, very different to your own privileged one, who, whilst a very talented bowler, would be inclined to do what his senior players and particularly his captain told him, especially when told there was money in it for him and this was part of the common culture. For an impressionable youngster, not long in the team to stand out against the blandishments of his captain would have been hard. It appears that the corruption may have been more widespread than the defendants here before me, and may have permeated the team in earlier days, though I have seen no direct evidence of that. If that is the case, you, as Captain, perpetuated such an atmosphere of corruption and would be responsible for it and for the desire to use Majeed and his contacts to make money for yourself and others in the team.

24. In the words you used to the jury- what you did was a terrible thing- it is bad for the game of cricket, bad for the country and shows the character of the man involved. Not only were you involved but you involved others and abused your position as captain and leader in doing so, bringing to bear your considerable influence on Aamer at the very least.

25. I have taken account of all the matters I referred to when sentencing Majeed and the difficulties in assessing the amounts of money of which persons might have been defrauded, as well as the gain to you from what you did, which remains unclear.

26. You do not have the advantage of a plea. You have been subjected to a ban on playing cricket for 10 years, of which 5 are suspended. You will be 31 or so, when the active part of that ban comes to an end and you will have lost some of the best years of a batsman s life as well as the years of captaincy. Your playing career may well be at an end for all practical purposes.

27. I bear in mind all that has been said on your behalf and the domestic circumstances outlined to me. You have been very good to your family and you have now a second child, born yesterday to your wife in Pakistan. I have well in mind the financial support you have given to your family and all the other matters raised in the letters produced to the court.

28. I take fully into account the ICC ban and the effect it has on you, which in itself is a considerable punishment for a man in your position. This enables me to take a more lenient course, than I otherwise might. But for that ban, the sentence would have been of the same order as that which I would have imposed on Majeed if he had not pleaded guilty. You do not have the benefit of a plea but the effect of the ban on you is such that I can reduce the sentence I would otherwise have imposed to 30 months imprisonment on the conspiracy corruptly to accept money and 2 years on the gambling conspiracy, both to run concurrently.

Here is Justice Cooke’s full statement on Mazhar Majeed, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.