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Richard Sydenham at Southwark Crown Court
November 2, 2011
Players/Officials: Mohammad Amir
The lawyer of Mohammad Amir told a packed Southwark Crown Court that his client has only ever cheated by bowling two no-balls in the Lord's Test and has never had any corrupt relationships with bookmakers, as the court has been led to believe from prosecution evidence.
During the trial, which has already seen Amir's former captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif found guilty on two counts, prosecution presented evidence to the jury of phone records that showed suspicious text messages between Amir and two unknown Pakistan numbers. The prosecution suggested Amir was a willing conspirator, which was an image his defence was keen to erase.
"We want to lay to rest that he had a prior corrupt relationship with other people about cheating," Henry Blaxland QC told the court. "These no-balls were the first time that he was involved in fixing."
In a lengthy and emotional address, Amir apologised through his lawyer for his involvement in spot-fixing, stating: "I want to apologise to all in Pakistan and all others to whom cricket is important. I did the wrong thing. I was trapped, because of my stupidity. I panicked."
Blaxland suggested that the Pakistani numbers ending 225 and 590 with which Amir had conversed were effectively belonging to the same racket and were interlinked. He went on to say that when Amir realised what the person was requiring from him (spot-fixing), he no longer encouraged them.
"The person is somebody who introduced himself to Mr Amir in Dubai in November 2009 when Pakistan were playing a tournament against New Zealand. There were two more innocuous meetings. Then out of the blue Amir received a call on August 4."
Of possibly more incriminating text messages that were recovered with Amir saying 'how much?' and 'what needs to be done?', the lawyer insisted Amir then gave little time to this person who began to pester him.
"Having found out what this person wanted to do [arranging brackets during The Oval Test], he broke off contact with this person. He did absolutely nothing of what this person was proposing.
"There has been a suggestion that on the 18th of August eight runs were scored [according to a fix], but there was no way Amir could make that happen and the runs that Jonathan Trott did score in that period were actually very lucky runs."
He added: "We entirely reject what has been suggested [of Amir's corrupt relationships with a Pakistani bookmaker]. The most important aspect is that he broke off contact after he knew what this person wanted.
"A great deal of focus has been placed on it during the trial but we do not accept that this is evidence of a corrupt relationship."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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