LONDON: The cricket betting scandal came into the limelight yet again on Friday when a London court ordered three Pakistani cricketers, accused of spot fixing, to appear in person or via videolink before the court in July setting the procedural hearing date to October 4.
, , and Mohammad Aamir as well as their agent Mazhar Majeed had to appear before the Southwark Crown Court on Friday but none of them were present there court.
The cricket trio and their agent were accused of cheating and spot-fixing when a British tabloid, “News of the World”, claimed that Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir bowled deliberate No-Balls during the fourth Test match between Pakistan and England at Lords in last August.
However, despite of being slapped huge bans by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the apex cricket governing body, the three accused have always denied the charges.
Their absence in court irked Justice Saunders who told their representatives to make the cricketers attend the preparatory hearing in July. The date would be announced in due course.
A provisional trial date has already been set by the London court on October 4, 2011.
If the court found three cricketers and their agent guilty of their offence they will be under huge trouble as cheating is an offence under Section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005 and carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine while accepting corrupt payments is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1996 and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
Salman Butt, the then captain, was handed five years ban while pacers Asif and Aamir were ousted for two years from international cricket after an ICC tribunal found them guilty of their misdeed.
Their agent Mazhar Majeed had allegedly accepted 242,000 US dollars during a sting by undercover newspaper reporters to arrange for the players to bowl no-balls.