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Pakistan cricket fixing trial judge begins summary

cricket Updated: Oct 26, 2011 14:06 IST

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The judge presiding over the Pakistan cricket spot-fixing trial has instructed the jury at a London court to accept that teenage bowler Mohammad Amir and agent Mazhar Majeed were involved in fixing.

Former Pakistan test captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif face charges of conspiracy to cheat, and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, following a Lord's test in August last year when they allegedly conspired with Majeed, Amir and other people unknown to bowl pre-planned no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.

The comments came as the judge began his summary of the trial at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday and were the first official guidance given to the jury on Amir and Majeed. However the judge added that their apparent guilt should not bias the fate of Butt and Asif.

"You can proceed on the basis that Majeed and Amir were involved in the spot-fixing at Lord's, as all parties agree that is the case," Justice Cooke told the jury. "But don't be concerned at their absence.

"You should return true verdicts according to the evidence. Don't let sympathy enter your verdicts and don't speculate on what you might have heard outside of this courtroom. You should base your decision on the evidence alone and draw inferences, which I mean by drawing common sense conclusions."

Earlier, Butt's lawyer Ali Bajwa completed his closing arguments, stressing that it was possible for no-balls to have been fixed without the knowledge of his client.

He suggested there was a criminal conspiracy between Majeed and Amir and possibly Asif, but insisted that Butt played no part in any spot-fixing that might have occurred.

"The prosecution doesn't want the truth to get in the way of a jolly good theory but you have to go on evidence, not suspicion. Guess work cannot play a part in your deliberations," Bajwa said.

In his closing, Asif's lawyer Alexander Milne urged the jury to "follow the money" after police failed to find any marked cash from an undercover reporter in his client's room during initial police raids.

"Where did that 150,000 (that Majeed took from the undercover reporter) go?" Milne asked the jury.

"It went to Mr Butt and Mr Amir. It's up to you members of the jury what conclusions you draw from that but none of that money went to Mr Asif.

"If Majeed was that keen to pay Mr Asif he would have found a way. If you follow the money, you will find that it does not lead to Mr Asif," Milne added.