Thatscricket - News - Cronje lawyers question King~~s legality

Published: Monday, February 5, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Cape Town: The King Commission of Inquiry into cricket match-fixing has come under fire again from lawyers representing the now banned for life former captain Hansie Cronje.As the commission prepares to resume its much-deferred hearings next Monday, Cronje's legal team has raised doubts about the legal capacity of its chairman, Judge Edwin King, to head the inquiry that started last June after Delhi Police blew the lid off telephonic match-fixing conversations between Cronje and an Indian bookmaker.Cronje's lawyer, Leslie Sackstein, told the Afrikaans weekly 'Rapport' that he had already raised the issue with King last year after the South African Constitutional Court decided a similar matter. The court ruled then that another judge, Willem Heath, should not be head of the special investigative unit started by the South African government to fight corruption. It said this was unconstitutional. Cronje's lawyers are now saying that this argument holds for King as well.Sackstein said King had told him then that the Constitutional Court had granted Heath a year to wind up the affairs of his unit. Using this information, the leader of evidence in the King Commission, Shamila Batohi, this week wrote to the head of Cronje's legal team, advocate Malcolm Wallis.She sought his opinion of King's role in the light of the Heath decision. He is reportedly preparing a reply.King would not comment on Batohi's letter, but feelings in some legal circles are that this issue is not going to make a big difference anyway as King has already released two interim reports. Batohi and others involved have earlier expressed their frustrations at the constant adjournments, reportedly caused by the reluctance of Indian authorities to release transcripts of taped conversation between Cronje and the bookmaker.Batohi, who has since taken up a position as head of the Scorpions, an elite investigative unit in her home province of Kwazulu-Natal, is reportedly keen to finish her work at the King Commission as well. The general feeling is that there is nothing new that will emerge at the resumed hearings of the commission, and that it will just meet to wind up its activities.The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) has already acted on some of the suggestions in these reports, including the banning for life of Cronje from all cricket activities. Cronje has appealed this decision in the high court.India Abroad News ServiceExtras:
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