Spot-fixing controversy October 20, 2011

Character witness statements laud Butt's 'honesty'

Richard Sydenham at Southwark Crown Court

Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt was widely described as an "honest" and "hard-working" individual and ex-Pakistan leg-spinning great Abdul Qadir claimed him to be a person "with high morals".

The comments came as Butt's defence closed by reading to the court a series character witness accounts. Those from former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson and from ex-Pakistan strength and conditioning coach David Dwyer were read out the previous evening.

At the start of day 12 of the alleged spot-fixing trial in London, Butt's solicitor Yasin Patel read out those from Qadir, one from his sister, his mother, from former Pakistan trainer Tauseef Razzaq and from an academy coach Azhar Zaidi. All were glowing references.

"The Salman Butt that I know is honest, hardworking, truthful, fair, modest, loving, highly-respected, and with a firm commitment to the success of his team and his country," Qadir said in his. "He supports and cares for all his family and is a young man who helps wherever he can do.

"I was shocked about the allegations that were made against him and am surprised with the charges he faces," Qadir added. "I do not believe he is capable of the acts with which he is charged," before adding, "There have been many great players in the past and I believe this young man is destined to achieve much in the future."

After these were finished being read out, it was then the turn of Mohammad Asif to take to the witness stand.

Butt and Asif are facing charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments following the Lord's Test last year when they allegedly conspired with agent Mazhar Majeed, teenager Mohammad Amir and other people unknown to bowl pre-planned no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.