Use of lie detector machines is mockery: Salman Butt

Salman Butt is facing a criminal case in a London court following a minimum five-year ban by the ICC in the spot-fixing scandal Getty Images

Karachi: Jul 22, 2011

Pakistan’s banned former captain Salman Butt has described as a ‘mockery’ the proposal by former Australia captain Steve Waugh to use lie detector tests in international cricket to root out corruption from the sport.

“It’s a non-serious proposal. In fact it’s a mockery,” Butt told The Express Tribune newspaper.

“If a machine is going to detect corruption, then all corruption-related issues would’ve been resolved. What’s the use of investigative agencies then?, he added.

Butt, who is facing a criminal case in a London court following a minimum five-year ban by the ICC in the spot-fixing scandal, said he doubted the accuracy of lie detectors and stressed that the mere idea was “against the concept of right and wrong”.

“It’s about the lives of the cricketers. Machines cannot announce verdicts on a player’s career. It seems Waugh is working as an advertising agent for some lie-detector company,” the former Test captain and opener said.

Butt didn’t appear in person in a London court earlier this week where a preliminary hearing was held to decide if the crown prosecution office had a criminal case against Butt and his teammates, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir.

The court ruled there was a strong case to proceed against the banned trio. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) cricket committee recently floated the idea that lie detectors have the potential to fight corruption in cricket and stressed that the proposal should be widely debated.

Waugh, who is a member of the MCC cricket committee, even took a lie-detector test as part of his bid to help root corruption out of cricket. Waugh termed the whole exercise a nerve-wrecking experience.

However, the legal advisor of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Tafazzul Rizvi expressed doubts over the accuracy of the polygraph tests and felt the implementation of the plan will be an uphill task.

“It’s not hundred per cent accurate,” said Rizvi.

“There should be a thorough experimentation of lie detectors before implementing the proposal. However, it still wouldn’t be easy to implement it because it will require amending the laws of ICC’s member countries. In Pakistan no one can be forced to give evidence against himself.”

Pakistan’s former Test captain Basit Ali said until doubts existed over the lie detector tests and its results were not acceptable in a court of law, it should be discouraged.

“As far as I know, there are doubts over the accuracy of the lie-detector and there’s always a minimal doubt over its results. So the use of lie detectors should be discouraged,” he said.