Pakistan spot-fixing cheats have their appeals over jail sentences rejected

DISGRACED former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and his erstwhile team-mate Mohammad Amir have failed in their appeals against the jail sentences they received following the spot-fixing trial.

Butt, 27, was jailed for 30 months, while 19-year-old fast bowler Amir, one of the sport’s most precocious talents, was detained for six months for the parts they played in conspiring to bowl deliberate no-balls in last year’s fourth Test against England at Lord’s. Butt’s defence team argued the punishment meted out by the judge, Mr Justice Cooke, was “manifestly excessive” while Henry Blaxland QC, for Amir argued that, on account of his age, he should be handed a suspended sentence.

But the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with two other judges, decreed that the duo’s crime was “not simply a matter of breaking the rules of the game” and warranted custodial sentences.

“It is also criminal conduct of a very serious kind which must be marked with a criminal sanction,” he added.

A third player, Mohammed Asif, was jailed for 12 months but decided not to appeal, as did Mazhar Majeed, the London-based agent, who pleaded guilty and was jailed for two years and eight months.

All three cricketers had already been banned for five years by the International Cricket Council.