Spot-fixing controversy December 21, 2010

Amir's lawyer would have preferred independent tribunal

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shahid Karim, Mohammad Amir's lawyer, has said he would have preferred an independent tribunal to adjudicate on the charges against his client over the spot-fixing controversy, instead of the three-man panel set up by the ICC. Amir, along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, has been provisionally suspended by the ICC for their alleged involvement in the controversy, and the final hearings are scheduled to be held over six days in Doha from January 6-11.

"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," Karim told "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."

The ICC's three-man tribunal includes Michael Beloff QC, Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa and Sharad Rao of Kenya. Beloff, the ICC code of conduct commissioner, had chaired the hearings into the appeals of Amir and Butt against their suspensions in Dubai, and had upheld the ICC's decision. Subsequently, the PCB revoked the central contracts of the players.

Beloff's prior participation in the hearings drew objection from Karim. "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," Karim said. "However, my training as a lawyer requires me to have full faith in the forthcoming tribunal and I should expect a fair hearing.

"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."

Karim was confident of a verdict in favour of Amir, claiming there were certain mitigating circumstances in his case. "One of the mitigating factors is age and the other mitigating factor is Amir's previously unblemished record," he said. "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."

And in the event of an unfavourable verdict for Amir, Karim said he would appeal to 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 of Sport in Lausanne. It is an international arbitration body set up to settle disputes related to sport and would be completely independent and divorced of the ICC."

Meanwhile, Butt's lawyers have asked the ICC for a postponement of the hearings to prepare their reply.