Former players, legal experts unconvinced by Amir confession
Karachi: Legal experts and former players believe that the written confession made by Pakistan`s banned Mohammed Amir that he was involved in spot-fixing was a move designed to help reduce the length of an expected prison term and gain sympathy from the ICC.
But majority of the legal experts and former players believe that Amir`s confession has come late and secondly it could prove to be more damaging for the two other banned players, Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif.
An anti-corruption tribunal of the ICC had banned the trio last February for spot-fixing for a minimum of five-years at that time all three pleaded not guilty.
"Unless, we know what Amir has said in his confession, I can`t say what effect it will have on the case of the two other players, Salman Butt and Asif who have pleaded not guilty so far," criminal lawyer Aftab Gul who represented Butt for a short while during the ICC hearings said.
Gul said if Amir had said in his confession that he was told by Butt to deliberately bowl the no-balls then the former Pakistan captain could face serious problems.
Another senior lawyer, Khalid Ranjha who was also involved in defending the players during the ICC hearings said he was surprised by Amir`s confession.
"If he had confessed earlier during the ICC hearings things could have very different today. I think he is now acting on the advice of his present lawyers."
Sources said that Amir had submitted his confession through his British lawyer Gareth Pierce`s firm Birnberg Pierce & Partners.
He confirmed that the statement maintained that Amir was coerced into his actions, rather than acting out of greed. The law firm when contacted refused to comment on the case.
The three players are charged on two counts in the Southwark court.
Firstly, with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, which falls under the 1906 Corruption Act, and carries a maximum sentence of seven years. They are also charged with conspiracy to cheat, under the 2005 Gambling Act, which carries a two-year maximum sentence.
Another source didn`t rule out the possibility of Amir having been offered a plea bargain to avoid a lengthy jail sentence.
Butt and Asif who are also due to appear in court on October 4 with Amir have so far not responded to any calls to contact them. The former Chairman of the Pakistan cricket Board, Lt-General Tauqir Zia said Amir had done no big thing with his confession.
"The ICC banned them because they already had evidence against the three and obviously that will matter for something in this court hearing as well," Zia said.
Pakistan`s former captain Rashid Latif said he was happy that at least Amir had admitted he had done wrong but perhaps it had come too late.
"The only thing now is that if there was any doubt over the involvement of our players in spot-fixing it has now been removed," he added.
Former captain Amir Sohail said Amir`s confession only confirmed the need for the Pakistan board to initiate steps to ensure they manage the financial affairs of the players specially those coming from poor backgrounds.
"The board should take steps to manage the financial affairs of these players who act without thinking and it only brings a bad name to Pakistan cricket," he added.