Essex: Cricket Match-Fixers Lose Appeal

A former Essex cricketer and sports agent have lost Court of Appeal challenges against match-fixing convictions.

Mazhar Majeed, 36, from Croydon, south London, and former Essex player Mervyn Westfield - the first county cricketer in England to be prosecuted for spot-fixing - were jailed in separate cases.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges in London, who had been urged to overturn their convictions, rejected their appeals.
Dismissing the challenges, Lord Judge stressed that for the health and survival of cricket as a truly competitive sport corruption "must be eradicated''.

Both appeals were heard together on May 24th as they raised the same point of law.

The men pleaded guilty following pre-trial argument and rulings, but their conviction challenges centred on the correct interpretation of gambling and betting legislation.

Majeed was sentenced in November to two years and eight months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to make corrupt payments.

Westfield, now 24, from Chelmsford, Essex, was sentenced to four months in prison at the Old Bailey in February and has since been released.

He pleaded guilty to one count of accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment to bowl in a way that would allow the scoring of runs.

He was accused of being paid £6,000 to bowl so that a specific number of runs would be chalked up in the first over of a match between Durham and Essex in September 2009. As well as the jail sentence, Westfield was the subject of a confiscation order for £6,000.

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