Friday, January 7, 2011

Reports suggest accused trio's defence differs Osman Samiuddin in Doha

As the spot-fixing hearing got underway in Doha, Qatar, speculation began to mount around the defence the three Pakistani players are constructing and the divergence in them.
The ICC and the three Pakistan players, who are facing charges of spot-fixing, made their opening statements on Thursday during a marathon seven-hour session at the Qatar Financial Centre civil and commercial courts.
After that the ICC began unveiling the evidence that has been collected against Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, believed to be a vast range of material including video footage and phone records; it is believed that this includes supporting evidence collected from the World Twenty20, held in the Caribbean last May before Pakistan's tour to England.
That process is expected to continue on Friday and is likely to include appearances from a number of witnesses called by the ICC over the next few days, including Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis. Mazher Mahmood, the News of the World journalist who broke the story, is also expected to appear as a witness and the newspaper's evidence is expected to be significant.
After that the players are expected to begin their defence and BBC reported that in their opening statements, the trio had already assumed different stances over the no-balls that were allegedly bowled at the behest of Mazhar Majeed, their agent who appears on the NOTW video telling the undercover reporter exactly when they will be bowled. According to the BBC two players said they did not know why the no-balls were bowled, while one said he did it by mistake.
The report prompted an ICC spokesman to stress that the information had not come from the world's governing body; only the members of the tribunal, the players and lawyers and witnesses are allowed inside the court. "During this whole process there have been plenty of leaks but we can categorically confirm that none of them have come from the ICC."
Though difficult to confirm, this would tie-in with the build up to the hearings during which it has appeared increasingly likely the players may take different lines in their defence. Two of the three rejected a request by the PCB to have an observer from the board present during the hearings and the players have been staying separately in Doha.
The players arrived separately in the morning on the first day and left the same way nearly eight hours later; Amir and Butt left soon after the day was over, but Asif stayed back for half an hour reviewing the proceedings with his lawyer Alex Cameron before leaving.

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