6 September 2010

Age is no defence

I find it strange that everyone is calling for leniency on Mohammad Aamer because he's 18. I am of course gutted that if found guilty, we won't see his amazing bowling skills for several years (as I am with Asif), but 18 is comfortably old enough to be criminally responsible. The only mitigating factors can be blackmail, coercion from others etc. However, the ICC do apparently protect young grown men and his age will mean that he'll get a lesser ban than an older grown man would do for the same crime, if found guilty.

I realise I'm probably in a minority, but that's just wrong. Next we'll say a 30 year-old should be treated more leniently than a 40 year-old because the poor inexperienced 30 year-old doesn't have the life skills to avoid a life of crime. Having reached the age of criminal responsibility, all sentences should be the same. If that is a concept that people struggle with, it means the age of criminal responsibility is wrong.


Peter Lamb said...

How far do you take coercion from others? If a relatively junior and inexperienced member of the team is instructed to do something by more senior players, for example the captain, what should he do? If money is offered, clearly it's naive not to be suspicious, but he's between a rock and a hard place: his career is in jeopardy either way, whether from disobeying his own team management or from the international anti-corruption unit.
Also, I find it hard to be sympathetic to those who have presumably lost money as a result of the currently alleged deception: surely the illegal bookmakers and those daft enough to bet with them thoroughly deserve their losses. The players allegedly involved are the little people; let's hope the investigations track down the big boys too, but I'm far from convinced they will.

Chris White said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you Ed. If he's guilty, he's guilty, end of story.

Ed said...

Coercion from others could be pressure put on by the skipper, yes. But I'd argue that the level to which that is a mitigating factor is the players security in the team rather than their age. Aamer is one of the best bowlers in the world so has been totally secure in the team over the last 12 months and it would have been impossible for him to be dropped for not going through with a spot fix.

If - as has been suggested - harm is being threatened to players' families that is also a big mitigating factor.

Soulberry said...

Boycs has a suggestion to deal with Aamer if he's proven guilty with which I tend to agree. He says if Md.Aamer is guilty, after taking into consideration that he is a teenager amidst corrupt older team mates and that it is only his first offence, he must still be made an example of to act as a deterrent for others. A ban for others must be for life but a ban for Aamer for a minimum seven years would serve the purpose.

In case the ban isn't overturned by PCB next morning, Aamr will still have a chance to redeem himself and his career at 25 years of age, cricket will still be able to enjoy his talent, and his experience would have conveyed to all aspirants what the right thing to do in such a situation is.

Imagine it to be like a cricketing borstal.

Yes, I agree with Boycott that the punishment, if guilty, the punishment after taking account the reasons to be lenient, must still be harsh enough to make others think the straight way.

Andrew said...

I take the point you make Ed, but nonetheless, there is a difference between an 18 year old asking for leniency, and a 30 year old, and I think most people can make the distinction.
A year or so ago, Aamer was just a 17 year old from a relatively poor part of the world. All of a sudden he's an international sports star with agents and managers and media all telling him all sorts of things. That doesn't defend what he did if he's guilty (big if given that John Higgins has just been cleared of the charges stemming from the last time the NOTW accused someone of match fixing), but nonetheless there is probably a difference between him and Butt and Asif, experienced senior players.
I rather like the solution proposed above, I personally would probably make it a little less than seven years, but it's a good principle I think.

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