Match fixing accused’s future sits with jury

The judge presiding over the fixing trial of former Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif sent the jury home on Monday in hope they can reach a majority decision.

The jurors will report back to south London’s Southwark Crown Court at 10am (10am GMT) on Tuesday after Judge Jeremy Cooke said he would accept a 10-2 verdict on whether the pair plotted the deliberate bowling of no-balls during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s in August 2010.

The jury initially retired at midday on Thursday but reported to Cooke on Monday that it was unable to reach a unanimous decision on charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments.

“If you are unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any particular one of the counts then I can take a majority decision from you, which is one on which at least 10 of you agree,” Cooke told the jury.

Cooke previously told the 12 jurors to accept that bowler Mohammad Amir was also involved.

Conspiracy to cheat
The allegations originally surfaced after sports agent Mazhar Majeed was recorded by an undercover reporter working for the now-defunct News of the World tabloid saying that the three Pakistan players had accepted money to fix betting markets.

Majeed was secretly filmed accepting £150 000 ($242 000) in cash from the journalist.

Prosecutors allege that Butt, who was Test captain at the time, and fast bowler Asif conspired with Majeed to ensure the delivery of three intentional no-balls during the match between August 26 to August 29.

Butt said he had ignored the requests from Majeed, his agent, and Asif said he had only bowled the no-ball at precisely the time Majeed said it would be delivered because Butt had told him to run faster moments before bowling.

Butt, Asif and Amir have already received lengthy suspensions by an International Cricket Council anti-corruption tribunal in Doha for fixing parts of the Lord’s Test.

Butt was banned for 10 years, five of which are suspended, Amir was banned for five years and Asif was given a seven-year ban, with two suspended. — Sapa-AP

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