Lack of evidence saved Harbhajan, admits Hansen

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Adelaide, Jan 30 (UNI) International Cricket Council (ICC) appointed Appeals Commissioner Justice John Hansen admitted that Harbhajan Singh was lucky to have escaped punishment for his alleged racial remarks against Andrew Symonds as the lack of evidence saved the Indian spinner.

''At the end of the day Mr Singh can feel himself fortunate that he has reaped the benefit of these database and human errors,'' Hansen was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

''I have not been persuaded to the necessary level required that the words were said. I am not sure they were.

''I am left with an honest uncertainty as to whether or not they were said given the possibility of misunderstanding through different languages, accents and cultures, and the fact that none of the Australian players appeared to hear any other words said by Mr Singh,'' he said.

Hansen, a New Zealand High Court judge, also added that the ban for Harbhajan, who was fined 50 per cent of his match fee, might not have been reduced if he knew of the player's previous disciplinary infringements.

''If I had been aware of the serious transgression in November 2001 I would have required more extensive submissions as to the offense in mitigation which could have led to a different penalty,'' he said.

In November 2001, Harbhajan and three other Indian players were fined 75 per cent of their match fees and a suspended one-Test ban for dissent.

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