Botham and Lamb bowled over by defeat in pounds 500,000 High Court test

Cricket's most expensive libel case has ended - with a surprise verdict. Jojo Moyes reports

Imran Khan won the most expensive libel case in cricketing history yesterday when he successfully defended himself against accusations that he had labelled former England captain Ian Botham a ball-tamperer and a racist.

Botham said, after the trial at the High Court, that he was "astonished" at the verdict of the case, the costs of which are estimated to be up to pounds 500,000.

He and fellow cricketer Allan Lamb had sued Imran, the teetotal, Oxford-educated former Pakistan captain, over an "offensive personal attack" in India Today magazine, which, they claimed, suggested that they were racist, not properly educated and of inferior social standing.

Botham alone sued over a report in the Sun which, he alleged, accused him of ball-tampering - something he says he has never done.

Imran, who denied libel, said his words were taken out of context and he was only trying to defend himself against allegations of cheating that were made against him in a previous newspaper report.

As the jury returned two majority verdicts in his favour, after five hours of deliberation, Imran appeared stunned. His pregnant wife Jemima, who had accompanied him throughout the two-and-a-half-week trial, appeared to be as surprised as he was, and as she left the court said the result was "amazing", telling her mother: "I'm such a cynic". Outside the court Imran said he was "overjoyed" by the result and paid tribute to the support of his wife.

"I thank the Almighty, that whatever I've been saying for the past two years, that I've been vindicated, that I never called anyone a racist, under-class or cheat," he said.

Imran believed that the result vindicated Pakistani cricketers, who he said had been called cheats, and he added that he hoped the issue of ball-tampering would be laid to rest once and for all.

He also said he was sad that the case had come to court and that he felt "sad" for Botham. Imran, his wife, and her family were said to be celebrating last night.

Imran's solicitor, Howard Cohen, said he was "absolutely delighted" and that Imran would pay only a "very small proportion" of the costs which, he said, for Botham and Lamb, were estimated at more than pounds 300,000 for last week alone.

In a brief press conference held outside his solicitor's offices shortly after the case ended, Botham expressed feelings of astonishment over the result, which had appeared to be heading in his favour last week, when Imran withdrew a plea of justification with regard to the allegations of ball-tampering.

"I'm a little confused as to how it went against us," Botham said.

"If you had been there two-and-a-half weeks, then I think it's a conclusion you are entitled to come to and it's one I came to," he added. Botham said he had fought for his dignity and honesty and added that he did not feel that the verdict had affected his reputation.

"Imran Khan had to withdraw justification and therefore had to admit I was not a cheat which is why I'm finding it confusing. I'm sure other people will find it confusing as well," he added.

On the issue of the costs, Botham said he had not had time to think about the implications, but he added: "Life goes on. I'll just have to do a couple more road shows to pay for it."

Allan Lamb, who also professed himself "astonished" said: "The jury's got to make their decision and we've got to accept it." Asked his opinion of Imran, he said: "Still the same".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
Tattoo enthusiast Cammy Stewart poses for a portrait during the Great British Tattoo Show
In picturesThe Great British Tattoo Show
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?