London, Nov 3: The verdict is out for Pakistan cricketers accused of spot-fixing in last year's test match at Lord's against England. 'Fixers' and the bookie Mazhar Majeed gets 2 years 8 months imprisonment, while former captain Salman Butt is imprisoned for 2 years, 6 months, pacer Mohammed Asif is sentenced for a year and Mohammed Aamer for six months.
The hearing was due at 2 pm IST, the court atmosphere was usual, the only difference was it witnessed one of the most awaited sentence that kept everyone curious over the past few weeks. The trio, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, pacer Mohammed Asif and talented youngster Mohammed Aamer appeared before the Southwark Crown Court at London.
The judge, Mr Justice Cooke took his time to address the defendants and announced the verdict individually. Addressing the courtroom, the judge started with the most predictable line : "This is not just cricket. "You have let down all supporters of the game. The image and integrity of cricket has been damaged. Your motive was greed, despite the legitimate rewards on offer in salaries and prize money."
Having said so, he started examining the background of the story first before announcing the sentences. Firstly, he talks to Majeed, "You took lion share of spoils" which points out that he was the key man responsible for everything. The Judge also says that Majeed would have served four years if he'd pleaded not guilty and sentenced him for 2 years, 8 months.
Next, its Salman Butt. Mr Justice Cooke to Salman Butt, "I consider you were guilty for corrupting Amir." Salman Butt would have got a sentence for 4 years but for his ICC ban. Considering what he did as a "terrible thing", Mr Justice Cooke sentenced him for 2 and a half years.
After announcing the verdict, Mr Justice Cooke turned to Mohammed Asif, "I refuse to accept the basis of your plea, that this was a one-off and you were pressured to do this." "You come from village background where life hard. After addressing Asif, Judge sentenced him for a year.
Judge to Aamer, "You were only 18 and readily lent on by others." Finally Aamer was sentenced for six months. Though the court verdict is out and imprisonment is certain, all the players are required to pay a compensation towards cost of prosecution. Salman Butt faces a compensation of £30,937 while Asif and Aamer will have to pay £8120, £9389 respectively. That brings us to the end of the verdict of the spot fixing row.
The spot fixing row, started in August last year, has been going on ever since the cricketers were found guilty. Though the court has sentenced these cricketers for less than 3 years, they cannot play cricket as the International Cricket Council tribunal has banned them for a minimum of five years in February 2011.