Harbhajan judge defends decision

The judge who cleared Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of racial abuse at an appeal hearing says his decision was based on a lack of evidence.

John Hansen insisted the prospect of India possibly abandoning the tour of Australia if the ruling went against their player did not influence him.

Harbhajan was accused of calling Andrew Symonds a monkey.

“I have not been persuaded to the necessary level required that the words were said,” said Hansen.

Hansen did find the off-spinner guilty of a lesser charge of using obscene language, with Harbhajan fined half of his match fee.

“I need to be sure and if I am left with reasonable uncertainty, then I must find in favour of Mr Singh,” Hansen wrote in his judgement.

“There was a direct conflict as to whether the word was used.

“There are cultural accent and language differences and it is accepted some of Mr Singh’s remarks were in his own language.

“There remains a possibility of a misunderstanding in this heated situation.”

Hansen also rejected the suggestion that the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket Australia reached an agreement which he simply sealed with his ruling.

“It is incorrect to suggest that there was some sort of an agreement reached between Australian and Indian cricket authorities that I simply rubber-stamped,” said Hansen.

“I also wish to add that while I was aware of the media furore surrounding this matter, no-one has attempted to apply direct pressure to obtain an outcome.”

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