Friday 4 November 2011 by Rickwestwell

Judge in Pakistan cricket trial accused of sentence-fixing


The judge in this week’s cricket no-ball trial has himself been sensationally accused of a betting scam after bookmakers disclosed that a suspicious pattern of betting had emerged on the length of the sentences handed out to the Pakistan bowlers.

According to a spokesman for Ladbrokes, many thousands of pounds had been placed on bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir being sentenced to twelve months and six months respectively, the exact penalties actually imposed.

Concerns were also raised by the suspicious appearance at a nearby bookies of a bewigged gentleman putting five large ones on the same result during the afternoon court recess.

The judge in question, M’lud Justice Cooke, has vigorously denied improper conduct, insisting that the sentences he handed out were “a fluke”, caused by his clerk of court urging him to “judge faster”.

Sentence-fixing uncovered

“Sentence fixing has been a growing problem for a while now”, explained BBC legal correspondent Jonathan Agnew.

“The trouble is, these judges are relatively poorly paid, and therefore vulnerable to bribery. It’s a real shame, as the integrity of a once-noble professions is now fatally damaged.”

“For many of the most deprived youngsters, judging has always been one of the few ways out of poverty, but who will want to follow their legal heroes now?”

“The trouble is, some of the more surprising sentences of recent years will now look suspicious.”

“I know a lot of people had money on Jeffrey Archer only getting four years for perjury, and now we inevitably wonder if that result was truly due to his marvellous defence, or something more sinister.”

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