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Friday, October 23, 2015

Chris Cairns perjury case in UK - more names getting spelt out

Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or of falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding. For example, it is not perjury to lie about one's age except where age is a fact material to influencing the legal result, such as eligibility for old age retirement benefits or whether a person was of an age to have legal capacity. Perjury is considered a serious offense in many jurisdictions.

A half-naked hooker, bundles of cash, diamond deals gone wrong, drugs, cheating, lying, alcohol and scalps – it sounds like the latest Bond movie Spectre, in fact it's the Chris Cairns perjury trial. Showing for free in London's Southwark Crown Court, the opening three weeks in the cricketer's trial have had as many tweaks and turns as a Shane Warne over, with flippers, zooters, googlies and a few wrong'uns being bowled by the lawyers.  In its efforts to prove Cairns lied under oath in his 2012 libel trial when he said he'd "never" cheated at cricket, the evidence has criss-crossed the globe – to India, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Bangladesh.

Years back, in the now defunct ICL, the public reason given for his suspension was under performance due to an ankle injury which put him in breach of his contract. But in the weeks and months that followed, Cairns and others were rumoured to be involved in match-fixing. Then in January 2010, Lalit Modi, chairman of the Indian Premier League, posted a message on Twitter commenting on Chris Cairns who in turn initiated  libel action against Modi in the High Court in the United Kingdom. Chris Cairns was successful and was awarded £90,000 in damages after allegations on Twitter. The case demonstrated that posts on Twitter are taken as seriously, in the eyes of the law, as comments printed in mainstream – though that tweet was in fact read by a small number of people only. 

Now after passage of some years, Cairns is facing charges of perjury.  Remember seeing Dinesh Mongia turning out in a local tournament and smashing all bowlers over the park, scoring a big hundred.  A real utility cricketer, Mongia scored heavily in domestic and scored a 300+ too.  In 2004 he signed for Lancashire as an overseas player when Stuart Law was injured. In 2005 he was signed by Leicestershireon a full-time contract. He would well be remembered as one who kept VVS Laxman out of 2003 WC.  He scored 1230 runs and took 14 wickets with his left arm spin and was a good fielder too.  He made a century against Zimbabwe and got MoM.  Like many other players of yesteryears, he faded in to oblivion, runs a cricket coaching school, dabbled in acting and played a parody of Amitabh Bachchan in the movie Kabab Mein Haddi – now suddenly he is back in news as Lou Vincent named him while giving evidence at the Southwark Crown Court in London in the Chris Cairns perjury case.   The Chandigarh Lions player however has denied any involvement in match-fixing.

Today’s NZ Herald reports that  Daniel Vettori was "shocked and then angry" when his teammate Brendon McCullum told him that Chris Cairns had approached him twice to fix cricket matches. Vettori told Southwark Crown Court in London via video-link that both men were close friends and that Cairns had been his mentor since his debut in 1997.  Vettori told the court that McCullum approached him and Kyle Mills while they were travelling on the New Zealand team bus while on tour in Bangladesh. Vettori could not recall all the details of the conversation but remembered that McCullum alleged Cairns said "all the big boys were doing it".

Asked why he did not report to the International Cricket Council what McCullum had said, Vettori said he did not think he was obligated to because the alleged approach was to someone else. "I'm probably wrong in thinking this, but I didn't think so at the time," he said. McCullum did not report the alleged approaches from Cairns until John Rhodes, an anti-corruption officer from the ICC, told the New Zealand team in February 2011 that players could be banned for failing to report match-fixing approaches without undue delay.

Vettori introduced McCullum to Mr Rhodes and also told the investigator about a promotional tour following the Champions Trophy tournament in 2006. He and Cairns were paid US$15,000 each to promote an Indian toothpaste company. Vettori gave the money to Cairns to purchase a diamond engagement ring of equivalent value. Vettori never received the ring and said Cairns later repaid the equivalent sum in cash, £9000, in £20 notes. He said it was "innocuous" but felt it was wise to tell Mr Rhodes.

Under cross-examination by Orlando Pownall QC, Vettori conceded he made a mistake in the date that McCullum told him about the alleged approaches by Cairns. He was unsure whether it was 2008 or 2010. Mr Pownall suggested it was 2008 but Vettori told Mr Rhodes it was 2010 so he could not be accused of an "undue delay" in reporting the approach. Players can be banned for between one and five years, but Vettori disagreed that he was concerned about that. "I made a mistake but it never crossed my mind that I might be sanctioned. I felt people would understand," he said.

Under questioning from Mr Pownall, Vettori said McCullum never mentioned the names of Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey - a former New Zealand bowler who played with both Vincent and Cairns in the Indian Cricket League - in connection to Cairns' alleged matchfixing. However, he revealed the New Zealand management heard rumours about the trio match fixing in the Indian Cricket League and discussed whether Tuffey should be selected. But he confirmed he never confronted Tuffey about the rumours.

With more names getting spilled, it is only getting murkier !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Oct 2015.

Sources : Indian Express and NZherald.co.nz 

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