Essex spot-fixing trial: Mervyn Westfield due in court

Mervyn Westfield, the former Essex fast bowler, will stand trial at the Old Bailey tomorrow over alleged spot-fixing in two county cricket matches.

The 23-year-old is accused of cheating, and accepting corrupt payments to deliberately bowl badly in 40-over games against Durham and Somerset in September 2009.

He is due to appear in the dock on Thursday morning for a two-week trial in London, to be heard by Judge Anthony Morris.

A jury is expected to be sworn in tomorrow and the case will be opened by Nigel Peters, QC, for the prosecution. Mark Milliken-Smith, QC, is defending Westfield.

The case relates to two games in the NatWest Pro40 tournament in 2009 and is the first instance of spot-fixing to be alleged in English county cricket.

Essex Police began an investigation in March 2010 and the Crown Prosecution Service announced Westfield would face charges six months later.

The bowler is accused of accepting corrupt payments, contrary to the Corruption Act 1906.

The indictment says: “Mervyn Westfield, an employee of Essex Cricket Club, between the 1st day of January 2009 and the 16th day of October 2009, corruptly accepted or obtained monies from another for himself, for agreeing to do, or having done an act in relation to Essex Cricket Club’s affairs, namely bowling in a manner calculated and intended to allow the scoring of runs in a NatWest Pro40 cricket match.”

A second charge against Westfield under the Gambling Act 2005 alleges that he “assisted another to cheat at gambling”.

The indictment says that Westfield “bowled in a manner calculated and intended to allow the scoring of runs for the purpose of assisting another person to cheat at gambling” between September 4-9, 2009.

Westfield, of Rainham, Essex, is on bail and has been granted legal aid. He denies both charges.

* Read day-by-day coverage of the trial exclusively on The Cricketer website, and follow RDJ Edwards’s tweets from inside court @Cricketer_RDJ

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