According to Michael Vaughan’s attorney, “due process” was disregarded and his client was “sent on holiday” during the ECB’s inquiries into allegations that he made racial remarks to four Asian and British-Asian players in 2009. The probe was described as “wholly and woefully inadequate” by Christopher Stoner KC, speaking on behalf of Vaughan, during the penultimate day of the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) proceedings in London. A three-person panel was hearing closing arguments at the time.
The case was concluded by Jane Mulcahy, the main attorney for the ECB, by reiterating a number of historical tweets that Vaughan had posted, at least one of which was from the period he is said to have made the remarks. Claiming they were “central to the case” Mulcahy said, “If a person has a tendency to make racist comments, they have a tendency to make racist comments.”
Closing arguments for the Vaughan case took up a large portion of the final day, demonstrating how the five-day hearing had come down to Azeem Rafiq’s accusation and Vaughan’s denial of it. The ECB presented accusations against Rich Pyrah and Andrew Gale in the morning, but they – like four other players as well as Yorkshire CCC – had previously chosen not to appear.
Stoner criticised the ECB’s inquiry procedure, in particular the testimony provided by Ajmal Shahzad, as was made clear in his cross-examination of Meena Botros, the ECB’s director for legal and integrity, last week. Shahzad was one of the four players Vaughan is said to have made a remark against on that particular day, although he informed the ECB that he did not remember making the remark and that he believed Vaughan. “wasn’t that way inclined” [to making racist comments].
Stoner argued that was important “counter evidence” to the historical tweets by Vaughan that the ECB was relying on in its case. “The investigation was wholly inadequate,” Stoner said. “Due process matters and is the cornerstone of law. In our submission it was sent on holiday by the ECB. It raises a real question of fairness [of this investigation]. Mr Vaughan has not been accorded fairness.”
The defence of Vaughan also provided a 22-page storyboard of the Sky footage they claim is the only “contemporaneous evidence” of the incident, which shows the pre-game huddle on that particular day. They analyse a two-minute clip in it that starts with Vaughan speaking to the players before they take the field.. Stoner argued that it is “inherently improbable that such serious and unacceptable words were spoken to team-mates just as a game was starting, in the presence of a cameraman and almost certainly a microphone.”
He also criticised the umpires and the videographer for making “half-hearted efforts” to contact further players and potential witnesses from the incident.
Mulcahy had already started her conclusion by putting Vaughan’s illustrative tweets front and centre of the ECB’s case. In her cross-examination of Vaughan last week, Mulcahy noted that two of the three tweets were posted in 2010. “Although Michael Vaughan now purports to be a changed character, Vaughan in 2009 was the same person who shortly afterwards (in 2010) sent two tweets complaining about foreigners… [he] still held the same ‘unacceptable’ views seven years later when he sent further tweets concerning Muslims and potential terrorism… the supposedly lighthearted but offensive expression in the tweets is very similar in tone to the comment made on 22 June 2009.”
This, she claimed, proved it was “quite the opposite” of what the defence claimed, that Vaughan said what he is alleged to have said. She asserted that the context of the tweets, which was not cricket, had no bearing, opposite to what Vaughan’s defence claimed.”If a person has a tendency to make racist comments, they have a tendency to make racist comments”. Vaughan’s tweets, she said, were there for “all to see”, including those he played with.
Mulcahy cited Yorkshire’s admission to the charge of institutional racism at the club, which covered the years from 2004 through 2021, as additional evidence in support. Hoggard and Gary Ballance have acknowledged saying things that were racial or bigoted during it.
Mulcahy also made a forceful defence of the ECB’s inquiries, criticising a “extraordinary amount of bitter and inaccurate correspondence” from Vaughan’s legal team regarding the disciplinary procedure. She claimed that Vaughan is willing to go to “crazy lengths” to “unfairly throw dirt at the ECB,” as seen by the claims that the Sky cameraman was not interrogated.
She ended her arguments by saying that the charging was “properly based on Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan corroborating the testimony of Azeem Rafiq” and that it is “frankly objectionable and wrong” of Vaughan’s closing submissions to suggest the ECB singled out Vaughan.
Pyrah and Gale have both denied charges that they used racist and/or discriminatory language, including “Rafa the K***”, “P***”, “you lot” and “fit P***” between 2008 and 2014. The ECB provided written remarks to the panel as closing arguments against both of them as well as the three absentees, Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, and John Blain.
Tim O’Gorman, the panel’s chair, Mark Milliken-Smith KC, and Dr. Seema Patel stated they wanted to release their findings by the end of March.
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