Danish Kaneria loses challenge to life-time ban

Thurrock Gazette: Danish Kaneria playing for Essex Danish Kaneria playing for Essex

FORMER Essex and Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria, who was given a life ban after a disciplinary panel concluded that he had encouraged a team-mate to underperform, has lost a High Court fight with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The ECB had charged Kaneria with inducing Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield to ''deliberately concede'' runs in a limited-overs game against Durham in 2009 and with bringing cricket into disrepute.

An ECB disciplinary panel found that charges had been proved after a hearing in 2012.

An appeal panel set up under ECB disciplinary regulations upheld the decision to impose a life ban in 2013.

Kaneria took High Court action - claiming that the ECB appeal panel had been wrong to uphold the life ban - and wrong to order him to pay the ECB legal costs of £200,000.

But a High Court judge dismissed his claims at a hearing in London on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Hamblen said the appeal panel had not exceeded its powers. He said there were no grounds for suggesting that an error of law had been made.

Kaneria was not at Tuesday's hearing. A lawyer told the judge that he was in Pakistan.

The ECB took disciplinary action against Kaneria after former Essex fast bowler Westfield agreed to "spot fix" and was jailed, the court heard.

Mr Justice Hamblen said the saga began on September 5, 2009 when Westfield played for Essex in a one-day game against Durham.

Westfield later admitted that he had bowled "deliberately badly" after agreeing to concede 12 runs in his first over for "financial reward", said the judge.

"In the event he conceded 10 runs, including a wide, and received £6,000," the judge added. "For this 'spot fixing' he was sentenced to four months' imprisonment in February 2012."

The ECB alleged that Kaneria had induced Westfield to underperform and had brought cricket into disrepute.

Kaneria had denied both allegations.

ECB chief executive David Collier called on the former spinner, now 33, to admit his guilt following the latest verdict.

Collier said in a statement released by the governing body: "This judgment re-affirms the previous findings of guilt and recognises that the two cricket discipline commission panels' decisions to impose a life ban were proportionate to the seriousness of the offences.

"It also makes it abundantly clear that there was no error of law or irregularity involved in the disciplinary process.

"This case has now been considered by two different independent panels and an experienced High Court judge.

"Today's decision supports the outcome of the earlier hearings, both of which led to a finding that Mr Kaneria acted as a recruiter of spot-fixers and exploited his status as an international player to engage a young county professional, Mervyn Westfield, in corrupt activity.

"Once again, in the light of Justice Hamblen's ruling today and the overwhelming weight of evidence laid against him, we would urge Mr Kaneria to publicly admit his guilt in this matter, apologise for betraying the trust of his former team-mates at Essex and ask him to co-operate with both ECB and ICC (the International Cricket Council) in their ongoing efforts to root out corrupt activities within cricket."

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