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News

Vaughan denied 'due process' in Yorkshire racism disciplinary, claims lawyer

ECB counsel returns focus to historic tweets in case against former England captain

Osman Samiuddin
Osman Samiuddin
07-Mar-2023
Michael Vaughan gave evidence to the CDC last week  •  Justin Tallis/AFP

Michael Vaughan gave evidence to the CDC last week  •  Justin Tallis/AFP

Michael Vaughan's lawyer has said "due process" was denied to his client, and "sent on holiday" in the ECB's investigations into charges that he made racist comments to four Asian and British-Asian players in 2009. Christopher Stoner KC, representing Vaughan, called the investigation "wholly and woefully inadequate" on the final day of the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) hearings in London, where closing submissions were being heard by a three-person panel.
Jane Mulcahy, the ECB's lead counsel, brought the case to a close by focusing again on a series of historic tweets made by Vaughan, at least one of which was from around the time he is alleged to have made the remarks. Arguing that they were "central to the case" Mulcahy said, "If a person has a tendency to make racist comments, they have a tendency to make racist comments."
Much of the final day was consumed by closing submissions for the Vaughan charge, serving to highlight how the five-day hearing had boiled down to Azeem Rafiq's allegation and Vaughan's defence of it. The ECB presented charges against Rich Pyrah and Andrew Gale in the morning, but they - like four other players as well as Yorkshire CCC - had already chosen not to appear.
As signposted in his cross-examination of Meena Botros, the ECB's director for legal and integrity, last week, Stoner criticised the ECB's investigation process, in particular the testimony given by Ajmal Shahzad. Shahzad was one of the four players Vaughan is alleged to have directed his comment to that day, but he told the ECB he did not recall the comment being made and also that he thought Vaughan "wasn't that way inclined" [to making racist comments].
Stoner argued that was important "counter evidence" to the historical tweets by Vaughan that the ECB was relying on in its case. "The investigation was wholly inadequate," Stoner said. "Due process matters and is the cornerstone of law. In our submission it was sent on holiday by the ECB. It raises a real question of fairness [of this investigation]. Mr Vaughan has not been accorded fairness."
Vaughan's defence also submitted a 22-page storyboard of Sky's footage of the pre-game huddle from that day, footage they argue is the only "contemporaneous evidence" of the incident. In it, they dissect a two-minute clip which begins with Vaughan addressing the team before they disperse on to the field. Stoner argued that it is "inherently improbable that such serious and unacceptable words were spoken to team-mates just as a game was starting, in the presence of a cameraman and almost certainly a microphone."
He also criticised what he called "half-hearted efforts" to reach out to more players and potential witnesses from the day, including the umpires and the cameraman.
Mulcahy had begun her closing earlier, placing Vaughan's historical tweets at the front and centre of the ECB's argument. Mulcahy said that two of the three tweets - brought up last week in her cross-examination of Vaughan - were made in 2010. "Although Michael Vaughan now purports to be a changed character, Vaughan in 2009 was the same person who shortly afterwards (in 2010) sent two tweets complaining about foreigners… [he] still held the same 'unacceptable' views seven years later when he sent further tweets concerning Muslims and potential terrorism… the supposedly lighthearted but offensive expression in the tweets is very similar in tone to the comment made on 22 June 2009."
She argued these showed it was "quite the opposite" that it was, as the defence argued, "inherently improbable" that Vaughan said what he is alleged to have said. She said it made no difference, as Vaughan's defence argued, that the tweets were non-cricketing in context. "If a person has a tendency to make racist comments, they have a tendency to make racist comments". Vaughan's tweets, she said, were there for "all to see", including those he played with.
In support, Mulcahy also pointed to the fact that Yorkshire had admitted to the charge of systemic racism at the club, spanning a period from 2004 to 2021. During it, Hoggard and Gary Ballance had admitted to making racist or discriminatory comments.
Mulcahy also launched a robust defence of the ECB's investigations, calling out an "extraordinary amount of bitter and inaccurate correspondence" from Vaughan's legal team about the disciplinary process. She said the allegations about the Sky cameraman not being interviewed illustrated "the ridiculous length" to which Vaughan is prepared to go to "unfairly throw mud at the ECB".
She ended her arguments by saying that the charging was "properly based on Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan corroborating the testimony of Azeem Rafiq" and that it is "frankly objectionable and wrong" of Vaughan's closing submissions to suggest the ECB singled out Vaughan.
Pyrah and Gale have both denied charges that they used racist and/or discriminatory language, including "Rafa the K***", "P***", "you lot" and "fit P***" between 2008 and 2014. Closing submissions against both - as well as the other absentees, Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and John Blain - were submitted by the ECB in the form of written statements to the panel.
The three-person panel, of Tim O'Gorman (Chair), Mark Milliken-Smith KC and Dr Seema Patel, said they hoped to publish a verdict by the end of March.

Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo