Salman Butt’s former lawyer predicts ‘long-term ban’ for tainted trio at Doha hearing

Thursday, January 6, 2011

LAHORE - Suspended Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt’s former lawyer has predicted that the International Cricket Council (ICC) may hand out long-term bans to the tainted trio- Butt, Mohammed Aamir and Mohammad Asif- at the ongoing anti-corruption tribunal hearing in Doha.

“I think the writing is on the wall for these three players,” the Daily Times quoted Khalid Ranjha, as telling German radio station Deutsche Welle.

Ranjha represented Butt in his client’s appeal hearing held by the ICC late October in Dubai, where the chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, Michael Beloff, rejected the appeals of Butt and Aamir.

“We wanted the ICC not to have Beloff heading the ICC tribunal for the full hearing which will decide on the charges against the three players,” said the lawyer.

“Our argument was and still remains how can a person (Beloff) rule against his own decision and that was to reject their appeals two months back now at the full hearing, because the case boils down to the same causes,” Ranjha told the radio station.

“It does not happen like this in law. That is why, I see the writing on the wall for these three players. I say it openly that the ICC has been biased against our players,” he added.

Ranjha said the ICC anti-corruption unit had no evidence against the trio, except for the things provided to them by the British tabloid that had levelled the spot-fixing allegations.

“That is why now they are banking on Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis to turn witnesses for them at the hearing,” he added.

The seasoned lawyer pointed out that while Afridi and Waqar might be great cricketers, they had raised doubts over their intentions by giving statements to the ICC three months after the three players were suspended.

“I don’t understand why these players and the security manager of the team waited for so long before giving their statements to the ICC in which they have cast shadows on the three players,” he said.

“After such a long period even the evidence of the police is not permissible in any court of law.” Ranjha added.

He also blamed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for turning against the suspended trio by allowing Waqar and Afridi to appear as witnesses at the full hearing, but said that the outcome might be the same even without their statements.

“Even if Waqar and Afridi had not given statements, I don’t think the outcome of the hearing would be any different. But by agreeing to appear as witnesses the two players have also damaged their own reputations,” he said.

Ranjha also claimed that PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt kept on pressurising the lawyers representing the suspended players to step aside. (ANI)

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