Cairns: I’ve been to hell and back

EMO­TIONAL KIWI NOT GUILTY OF PER­JURY

Daily Mail - - Cricket - by LAWRENCE BOOTH

Are­lieved but emo­tional Chris Cairns said he had been through ‘hell’ af­ter a jury found him not guilty of per­jury and per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice yes­ter­day fol­low­ing an eight-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Cairns, 45, who had been ac­cused of ly­ing at a cricket cor­rup­tion li­bel trial in 2012 and of try­ing to per­suade his fel­low former New Zealand in­ter­na­tional lou vin­cent to pro­vide false tes­ti­mony on his be­half, cut an ex­hausted fig­ure af­ter the jury con­firmed he was a free man, fol­low­ing more than 10 hours of de­lib­er­a­tion.

‘i’m very happy,’ said Cairns, who nod­ded tear­fully in ap­pre­ci­a­tion to­wards the ju­rors as they left the court­room. ‘i’ve been through the mill and come through the other side.’

But the former New Zealand all­rounder, who won the last of his 62 Test caps in 2004, said he would not be seek­ing fu­ture em­ploy­ment in cricket, ad­mit­ting: ‘rep­u­ta­tion­ally i am com­pletely scorched.’

Cairns’s friend and former ad­vi­sor An­drew Fitch-Hol­land, who was also found not guilty of per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice, said: ‘i al­ways be­lieved the jury would see the truth.’

Both men had been ac­cused of try­ing to per­suade vin­cent to tes­tify on Cairns’s be­half af­ter in­dian cricket ad­min­is­tra­tor lalit Modi tweeted that Cairns had been in­volved in cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties at the 2008 in­dian Cricket league.

Modi, who was forced to pay Cairns £90,000 af­ter los­ing that case, as well as in­cur­ring le­gal costs of nearly £1.5mil­lion, said through his lawyer: ‘i will con­sider how this af­fects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course.’

Cairns, who will re­turn to his fam­ily in Aus­tralia af­ter three months away from home, said: ‘i’ll think about Mr Modi maybe next week. i’ll deal with this one at the mo­ment and get through to­day.’

Speak­ing on the steps out­side the court in south lon­don, he added: ‘it’s been hell for the last five or so years and in par­tic­u­lar the last cou­ple.

‘it’s a pretty ro­bust sys­tem and the jury came back with a not-guilty ver­dict and i couldn’t be more happy. You have to be a bit care­ful: it’s not a vic­tory as such, there are no win­ners.’

The pros­e­cu­tion case cen­tred on ev­i­dence from New Zealand cap­tain Bren­don McCul­lum, vin­cent and elly ri­ley, vin­cent’s ex-wife. Asked what he would say to McCul­lum now, Cairns set­tled for a one-word an­swer: ‘Why?’

‘There were two ex-team-mates who came with ev­i­dence, and oth­ers who were there to sup­port,’ he said. ‘Mr Pow­nall ( Cairns’s de­fence QC) summed it up well when he said there was an as­sump­tion of guilt. i don’t think peo­ple were there with ma­li­cious in­tent. There were re­ally only a cou­ple of peo­ple who had that as­ser­tion.’

The ICC, for whom John rhodes — the head of the gov­ern­ing body’s Aus­tralasian anti-cor­rup­tion unit — had given ev­i­dence, said they had the ‘ut­most re­spect for the process’.

Free man: Chris Cairns

NICK RAZZELL

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