Amir “very confident” of coming out clean in spot-fixing case, says lawyer

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KARACHI - Suspended Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir has been hit hard emotionally and financially after being implicated in the spot-fixing scandal, but is “very confident” of coming out clean, his lawyer Shahid Karim has said.

“Amir has been hit hard emotionally and financially. So early in his career, he’s been hit by this huge scandal. This is the type of scandal that is literally unprecedented in the cricketing world…. Emotionally he is drained, he’s been affected badly by it, but he’s coping as best he can and above all he is very confident that he will come out of this clean, quoted Karim, as saying.

“There are certain mitigating circumstances and factors in Amir’s case that were spelt out in the initial hearing also. One of the mitigating factors is age and the other mitigating factor is Amir’s previously unblemished record,” he added.

The lawyer stressed on the oddity of the case, where the judges have been actually appointed by the ICC, which is itself on the opposition benches at the hearing, therefore presenting the accused with an uncomfortable and rather strange scenario.

“Looking at the case from a legalistic point of view, from the point of view of the case being presented to an independent and unbiased tribunal, then I think he has a fair chance of coming out clean. However the situation is an odd one. Ideally we would have liked the tribunal to be completely independent of the ICC, but at this point in time I have to have full faith in the tribunal,” he said.

Karim confirmed that he had raised an objection with Michael Beloff, head of the ICC code of conduct commission, chairing the hearing in Doha.

“We raised a slight objection to Michael Beloff QC chairing the hearing in Doha, as he had heard the case in the provisional hearing, but he chose not to remove himself. However as mentioned earlier, my training as a lawyer requires me to have full faith in the forthcoming tribunal and I should expect a fair hearing,” he maintained.

“Although the members of the three man tribunal are already part of the anti corruption commission which is a permanent body in the code of the ICC and are nominated by the ICC and the tribunal members have been picked out of those members, I still think that I have faith in their independence and impartiality,” he added.

Karim, who previously represented Mohammad Asif, when the medium fast bowler had tested positive for a banned substance during the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, said that the ICC had served an open brief on the tainted cricketers.

“The ICC have served an open brief on the players in which they have served their arguments, their witnesses that they want to produce against us and we were then required to submit a reply brief with our arguments and the witnesses we want to produce in our favour, which was to be done by 14th December, and the ICC would respond by 24th December to our reply brief, if they wanted to,” he said.

The hearing is due to commence next month in Doha on 6th January and is expected to last four or five days. Karim said that his strategy would be to create enough doubts in the ICC’s case against Amir.

“Rather than us producing witnesses as such, the ICC would have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, so our aim will be to put a dent in their case and to create doubts in the ICC case,” he said.

Karim stressed that if the outcome of the hearing went against teenage pace sensation, he and his client would not give up the fight, and would definitely appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

“If the hearing does not go our way we plan to take the matter further. The next stage of the process would be to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is an international arbitration body set up to settle disputes related to sport and would be completely independent and divorced of the ICC,” said the lawyer. (ANI)

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