London court rejects Butt, Amir’s appeal against jail sentence

Last Updated: Nov 23, 2011, 18:33 PM IST

London: Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir`s appeals against their sentences in the spot-fixing case have been rejected by a London court on Wednesday.

The Court of Appeal, headed by Lord Chief Justice Igor Judge, dismissed their appeals and upheld the prison terms handed to Butt and Amir for their role in one of cricket's biggest scandals.

"The cricketers betrayed their team, their country, the sport that had given them their distinction and all the world followers of the game," the judge said.

"The reality is that all the enjoyment of watching cricket will be destroyed if this was allowed to continue. This is a notorious and essentially simple case. It was a betting scam and they were very well rewarded."

The duo was not present in the court during the proceedings.

Jailed Pakistani cricketer Salman Butt had filed an appeal against his 30-month sentence earlier this month.

Salman Butt has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison, while Mohammad Amir, 19, is serving a six-month sentence in a youth detention and correction centre for involvement in fixing parts of a Test match at Lord’s last year.

The Lord Chief Justice, called the appeal against Butt's sentence "unarguable" and agreed to trial court judge Jeremy Cooke's view that he was the "orchestrator" of the whole episode.

Lord Judge said that "Butt was undoubtedly the most involved" and a "malign influence" as his duty as captain was to "stop" any whiff of corruption.

He added that Justice Cooke, who presided over the original trial case, was fully entitled to call Butt the "orchestrator."

Regarding Amir, Lord Judge said the pacer was not so young so as not to know what he had committed.

"This prodigious talent has been lost to cricket for some years. Cricket will be the poorer for it. But he was not so young that he did not appreciate what he was doing," the judge observed.

The defence team for Butt argued that the sentence was too severe. They outlined three types of match fixing: the outcome of the game, passages of play and spot-fixing and argued that Butt was involved in the least severe of the three.

Ali Bajwa, representing Butt, argued that his client's sentence was "manifestly excessive" and "out of proportion to the seriousness of the offence that was committed".

He said although serious, it was at the "lower end of the scale" of such offences.

Bajwa described Butt as a broken man in a state of "ruin and disgrace".

"The very fact of conviction and imprisonment amounted to exceptional punishment for Mr Butt," he said.

Amir's defence team, headed by Henry Blaxland, urged the court that his six-month sentence should be downgraded to a suspended term of a length that would enable him to walk free immediately. However, the judge read out text messages sent to Amir by a separate fixer in Pakistan.

The duo has also filed appeal against their suspension from international cricket by the ICC.

PTI