The banned trio of former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, fast-bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are set to attend a criminal charges hearing at the Southwark Crown Court in London. While Asif left for London yesterday, Salman’s lawyer will appear in his place for the hearing on May 20 and Amir is yet to receive the UK visa.
The trio was banned from all cricketing activities by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for their role in a spot-fixing scandal during Pakistan’s tour to England last year.
The verdict saw Amir being banned for five years, Asif for seven, of which two are suspended, while Salman was given a 10-year punishment, five of which are suspended.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also pressed charges for a corruption case on the trio as well as their agent Mazhar Majeed.
Salman, who was advised by his lawyer Yasin Patel to stay back, will not attend the hearing and Amir is awaiting his visa.
However, Asif, who flew to London yesterday, said he will prove his innocence in court. He further added that he had also appealed against the ICC verdict in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and is hopeful of his ban being overturned.
The three, along with their former agent Majeed, appeared before a magistrate in Westminister in March but were asked to reappear at the Southwark Crown Court. They will now stand trial on charges of conspiracy and cheating.
The trio, if found guilty, could face upto seven years of imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
The CPS, while allowing bail earlier, had stated that failure to show up for future hearings would end the trio’s careers.