x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Mohammed Aamer's lawyer confident of ICC tribunal

Shahid Karim insists he has faith in January 6 tribunal in Doha which will decide the fate of his client implicated in the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal.

The lawyer of teenage pace bowler Mohammed Aamer insists he has faith in the ICC-appointed tribunal which will decide the fate of his client and the two other players implicated in the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal.

Aamer, along with Mohammed Asif and Salman Butt, will face an ICC hearing in Doha starting on January 6. At present the trio cannot play competitively and have had their Pakistan contracts withdrawn, and face possible life bans from the sport if found guilty of spot-fixing charges.

Aamer and Butt appealed against their suspensions at the end of October but saw their claims rejected by Michael Beloff QC, who will also chair next month’s three-man tribunal to adjudicate on allegations that Aamer and Asif bowled no-balls to order in the fourth Test against England in August, with Butt orchestrating events as captain.

The ICC have selected the panel that will preside over the hearing, but Aamer’s lawyer, Shahid Karim, is confident of a fair outcome despite admitting that an independent tribunal would have been the preferred option.

“Looking at the case from a legalistic point of view, from the point of view of the case being presented to an independent and unbiased tribunal, then I think he has a fair chance of coming out clean,” Mr Karim told PakPassion.net.

“However the situation is an odd one. Ideally we would have liked the tribunal to be completely independent of the ICC, but at this point in time I have to have full faith in the tribunal.”

Reflecting on Beloff’s appointment to the panel, Mr Karim added: “We raised a slight objection to Michael Beloff QC chairing the hearing in Doha, as he had heard the case in the provisional hearing, but he chose not to remove himself.

“However, as mentioned earlier, my training as a lawyer requires me to have full faith in the forthcoming tribunal and I should expect a fair hearing.

“Although the members of the three-man tribunal are already part of the anti-corruption commission which is a permanent body in the code of the ICC and are nominated by the ICC, and the tribunal members have been picked out of those members, I still think that I have faith in their independence and impartiality.”

Mr Karim added that Aamer, 18, has been greatly affected by the scandal engulfing Pakistan cricket, and is desperate to clear his name.

He said: “Aamer has been hit hard emotionally and financially.

“So early in his career, he’s been hit by this huge scandal. This is the type of scandal that is literally unprecedented in the cricketing world. Nothing of this proportion has ever happened before with so much hype surrounding it and with the kind of recordings that have been created against these players.

“Emotionally he is drained, he’s been affected badly by it, but he’s coping as best he can and above all he is very confident that he will come out of this clean.

“There are certain mitigating circumstances and factors in Aamer’s case that were spelt out in the initial hearing also. One of the mitigating factors is age and the other mitigating factor is Aamer’s previously unblemished record.”

Should the outcome of the hearing go against Aamer, Mr Karim admitted the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland would be the next avenue to explore.

“If the hearing does not go our way we plan to take the matter further,” he said.

“The next stage of the process would be to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport is an international arbitration body set up to settle disputes related to sport and would be completely independent and divorced of the ICC.”