Cheats set to hear jail fate

2011-11-02 19:55

London - The three Pakistan cricketers convicted of fixing parts of a Test match will find out on Thursday whether they will spend time in jail for their role in the sports' most serious corruption scandal in more than a decade.

Judge Jeremy Cooke spent Wednesday listening to mitigating statements from lawyers representing Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and sports agent Mazhar Majeed, all of whom have been connected to a betting scam involving the deliberate bowling of no-balls.

Cooke will mull the case overnight before delivering their sentences at London's Southwark Crown Court at 10:00 (10:00 GMT) on Thursday.

Former captain Butt and bowler Asif were found guilty on Tuesday of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. Amir and Majeed pleaded guilty to the charges before the trial.

The latter charge carries a possible jail term of seven years.

The scandal is cricket's biggest since South Africa's captain Hanse Cronje was banned for life in 2000 for taking bribes from bookmakers.

Majeed declined to name others involved in the scam despite his guilty plea. He told Cooke that he did not instigate the fixes but that the players approached him.

A murky picture of widespread dishonesty emerged on Thursday as allegations and counter allegations flew between the players and Majeed during their statements, prompting Cooke to declare his belief that fixing was so common within the Pakistan squad that it was regarded as the norm.