Cairns: I’ve been to hell and back
EMOTIONAL KIWI NOT GUILTY OF PERJURY
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