Spot-fixing controversy October 28, 2011

Jury will resume deliberations on Monday

Richard Sydenham at Southwark Crown Court

The jury deciding on the alleged spot-fixing trial at Southwark Crown Court involving Pakistan players Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were sent home for the weekend on Friday afternoon having failed to reach a verdict after two days of deliberation.

The judge, Justice Cooke, released the jury at just after 4.00pm on the 18th day of the trial. They will resume for a third day of deliberations on Monday morning at 10.00am. The jury were issued with the customary details from the judge about not discussing the case with anyone outside of the jury room.

Asif's lawyer Alexander Milne QC also stood to inform the judge that the two players had been issued with emergency 14-day visa extensions as their existing ones were due to expire at midnight on Monday.

The jury did come back into court at 12.20pm but only to listen to recorded transcripts for about half an hour. They listened to two recordings.

The first was of a telephone conversation between agent Mazhar Majeed and the undercover journalist on the evening of August 20, with Butt heard on speaker phone. And also a call on the morning of August 21 when Majeed spoke to the journalist in person at his Croydon home, and also rang Butt again during that conversation. Majeed was trying to ask Butt to bat out a maiden over, which he did not subsequently do

The jury went 'out' at about midday on Thursday when the judge told them then: "The only satisfactory verdict in a criminal trial is a unanimous verdict. I do not want to hear anything about majority decisions at the moment." The judge may consider a majority verdict, though, should there not be a decision within several days.

He added: "There is no set time for a verdict. You can take as short a time or as long a time as you need within reason. There is no pressure on you. If you do not reach a decision today, I shall send you home and you can come back tomorrow."

Former captain Butt and pace bowler Asif face charges of conspiracy to cheat, and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, following the Lord's Test in August last year when they allegedly conspired with agent Majeed and teenage fast bowler Mohammad Amir and other people unknown to bowl pre-planned no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.