Butt hires lawyer of Indian origin for spot-fixing case

The Pakistani lawyer for Salman Butt, Aftab Gul confirmed that Barrister Yasin Patel would be representing the player in all matters in the United Kingdom.

"Yasin Patel is a very high profile criminal defense lawyer who also specialises in human rights, money laundering and sports related cases. He will be liasioning with Scotland Yard which is investigating the spot-fixing allegations against Salman," Gul said.

He said if need arose Patel could also represent Butt at the full hearing of the International Cricket Council code of conduct commission in Doha in January.

"At present the plan is that myself and Khalid Ranjha will represent the player at the ICC hearing but if we feel the need Patel can also be part of the hearing," Gul said.

Well informed sources said that the hiring of Patel was a significant step by Butt as the charges of spot-fixing and trying to defraud the bookmakers originated from the investigations being held by Scotland Yard after the News of the World tabloid carried a story alleging that Butt and his teammates, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif were involved in spot-fixing during the fourth Test against England at Lords in late August.

Patel with a Gujrati background has been involved in some high profile criminal and human right cases in the UK.

Interestingly, Gul a former Test player had earlier announced he would no longer be representing Butt in the spot-fixing case as he accused the ICC of injustice and of having already decided to ban the players.

"No, I have changed my mind because the future of not only Butt but two other very good players depends on the outcome of the full hearing in January. We will be going there fully prepared to defend these players as until now no concrete evidence has been produced against them," he said.

Aamir and Asif have their own set of lawyers to represent them in the spot-fixing case and they have been preparing for the full hearing independently.

Gul and Ranjha had represented Butt at the appeal hearing of the ICC code of conduct commission held in Dubai in late October where the appeals of Butt and Aamir were rejected leading to them making accusations publicly that the ICC was not treating them with justice.

They had also called on the government to intervene in the matter on their behalf but so far neither the government nor the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have shown any intentions of getting involved in the matter.

The three players were asked by the ICC to submit details of their legal team for the full hearing by Monday and Butt had already taken an extension of three-days in order to hire the UK based lawyer and to convince Gul to change his mind.

The trio were suspended on September 2 by the ICC after the News of the World story and there are indications that the newspaper may also be asked to appear at the full hearing to verify and back up the allegations and evidence they have shown against the players.

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