'Weak evidence' against Butt

2011-10-24 21:46

London - Salman Butt's lawyer on Monday dismissed the case against the former Pakistan Test captain, saying "there simply isn't enough evidence to find him guilty" in the spot-fixing trial in a London court.

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 agent Mazhar Majeed, teenage paceman Mohammad Amir and other people unknown to bowl pre-planned no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.

In his closing at Southwark Crown Court, Butt's lawyer Ali Bajwa told the court that no reliable evidence that links Butt to the no-balls in question had been presented.

"Salman Butt's life has been torn apart to the point of analysing his bank records, his every move and even anything his mother does or planned. If I worked backward from any of your lives (the jury) I could find or twist things about what you have or might not have done.

"When you came into this court room for the first time you all took an oath to say you will give a verdict according to the evidence and nothing but the evidence. In the case of Salman Butt there simply isn't enough evidence to find him guilty."

Earlier, prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee opened day 14 of the trial with a three-and-a-half hour outline of the evidence.

"Shorn of cricketing terminology about mid-on and mid-off, shorn of jargon of attacking shots and defensive shots, this is a case of corruption through the vehicle of a sport," Jafferjee said. "You the jury do understand deceit, greed and corrupt practice by some on the inside who are lucky enough, through talent, who have the opportunity to exploit it.

"The sad truth in this case is that there are decent things to be said of everybody - perhaps not Majeed. But none of this could have happened without these four people involved. Butt, Asif and Amir were involved. And all for what? Money. More money."

Bajwa is expected to complete his closing on Tuesday, making way for Asif's lawyer to begin.