The trial took place in October of three Pakistan cricketers Mr Mohammad Asif, Mr Mohammad Amir and Mr Salman Butt, whom it was alleged had been bribed by Mr Mazhar Majeed to bowl no balls on particular balls of the match for the benefit of a betting scheme.
Mr Amir and Mr Majeed admitted charges of conspiracy and accepting corrupt payments but Mr Butt and Mr Asif pleaded not guilty. Mr Butt insisted that it was just “a series of freakish occurrences” that the three no-balls were bowled exactly as agreed, whilst Mr Asif claimed that it was “just chance”.
Mr Butt and Mr Asif were convicted on 1 November 2011.
Prosecutor, Mr Aftab Jafferjee, told the jury that “this case reveals a depressing tale of rampant corruption at the heart of international cricket […] were this investigation not to have been permitted, this activity of ‘fixing’ would have certainly continued – unabated and unaccountable – and beyond the reach of the law”.
The four defendants were ordered to pay costs and sentenced to imprisonment. Mr Majeed received 2 years and 8 months, Mr Butt 2 years and sixth months, Mr Amir six months and Mr Asif a year.
Judge Jeremy Cooke remarked when sentencing that: “These offences, regardless of pleas, are so serious that only a sentence of imprisonment will suffice to mark the nature of the crimes and to deter any other cricketer, agent or anyone else who considers corrupt activity of this kind, with its hugely detrimental impact on the lives of many who look to find good honest, entertainment and enjoyment from following an honest, albeit professional sport”.
Lawyers of Mr Amir and Mr Butt have confirmed that they will appeal against their sentences.