Stump mike could be used as evidence in Harbhajan appeal

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Adelaide, Jan 28 : Harbhajan Singh ban issue took a new twist on Monday when the ICC-appointed appeal commissioner said that "additional evidence" could be admissible in the hearing scheduled for January 29 and 30 in Adelaide.

"There may be some additional evidence, such as the transcript available from the stump microphone, which was not available to Mr (Mike) Procter," John Hansen said, who is a serving judge in the New Zealand High Court.

This gives a new twist to the whole controversy with now the possibility of some evidence being available to the commissioner, which could put Harbhajan and Sachin Tendulkar in dock.

Procter slapped Harbhajan with a three-match ban after the Sydney Test for allegedly racially abusing Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds whose point was supported by three members of his team.

The version of Sachin Tendulkar, batting partner of Harbhajan during the incident, was not taken into account.

If indeed some fresh evidence emerges which weakens the case of Harbhajan and allows the ban to continue, the forthcoming triangular series could be in jeopardy as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has time and again threatened to pull out of the tour over the issue.

The procedures outlined by justice Hansen states that there will be a re-hearing with the evidence being given by all of the witnesss.

The hearing, to be held in private at the federal court in Adelaide from tomorrow, will give an opportunity to both the counsels to cross-examine the witnesses though it being a sporting disciplinary hearing, the evidence will not be on oath.

Justice Hansen declared that soon after he arrived at a decision, he would forward his ruling to Harbhajan, Procter and the chief executive of the ICC.

If Harbhajan was to prove guilty and the Indian board was to carry its threat, the damages for abandoning the tour could amount to 2.3 million Australian dollars as penalty.

ANI

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