Practice and Procedure

Not cricket but crime

PUBLISHED December 12, 2011

Court of Appeal, Criminal Division

Published December 12, 2011

Regina v Amir

Regina v Butt

Accepting bribes for orchestrating no-balls in a Test match was not simply a matter of breaking the rules of the game and being subject to internal regulation and discipline by the International Cricket Council, it was also criminal conduct of a very serious kind which had to be marked with a criminal sanction.

The Court of Appeal (Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice, Mr Justice Royce and Mr Justice Globe), so held on November 23, 2011. when dismissing appeals by Mohammed Amir and Salman Butt against sentences of detention for six months in a young offender institution and imprisonment for two and a half years, respectively, imposed by Mr Justice Cooke at Southwark Crown Court on November 3, 2011, following Amir?s plea of guilty to and Butt?s conviction of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat.

THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE, giving the judgment of the court, said that, by accepting bribes and agreeing that no-balls would be bowled, the cricketers had betrayed their team, their country which they had the honour to represent, the sport which had given them their distinction and, of course, their followers across the world.

The International Cricket Council had suspended Amir for five years and Butt for 10 years but the game would be utterly impoverished if the court failed to make it clear that such very serious criminal conduct had also to be marked with a criminal sanction.