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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kiwi Chris Cairns facing perjury charges !!!

He had reasonable success in his career ~played 62 Tests making 3320 runs with 5 centuries; 4950 runs in 215 ODIs – 4 centuries, the first of which came at Pune.  Took 218 wickets in Tests and 201 in One dayers. Retired somewhat early from Tests in 2004; ODI in 2006, played in ICL, captained Chandigarh Lions.  The New Zealand Herald compared his retirement to those of Michael Jordan and Björn Borg – now in news for different reasons  !!

The Mongoose bat is not the first innovation – there have been some attempts earlier like the boutique shoulder-less blade used by Lance Cairns in the 1980s, known as "Excalibur".  In 1983 at MCG, big burly Lance Cairns struck lusty blows (6 sixers in 10 balls) making 52 off only 25 balls.  Cairns played in an era whence ODI was at its nascent stage.  Remember that he played when India toured New Zealand in 1981.  In a test at Basin Reserve, Wellington,  Kirti Azad, Yograj Singh (father of Yuvraj Singh) and a young Ravi Shastri who had just flown in as a replacement made their debuts.  Lance Cairns took 5 for 33. It is his son, Chris who is in news for wrong reasons.  

Christopher Lance Cairns,  is an allrounder who played both ODI and Tests. Chris Cairns also captained the Black Caps on seven occasions, usually when regular captain Stephen Fleming was unavailable. After his playing career Cairns went on to become a commentator with Sky Sport New Zealand. He came down to India played in ICL until he was suspended in October 2008.

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 this message on this Twitter page: "Chris Cairns removed from IPL auction list due to his past record of match fixing. This was done by the Governing body today." The tweet was followed up by cricket news website, CricInfo, and then Cairns hit back by taking 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.  Mr Cairns's lawyer stated that the comments had tainted the career of his client, who played for Nottinghamshire before a spell in India.  In what was described as the ‘first Twitter libel case’ in England, a councillor in Caerphilly, Wales, was ordered to pay £3,000 and costs to a political rival for posting a libellous comment on Twitter.  In this case, Mr Modi was also ordered to pay Mr Cairns' £400,000 legal costs.

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.  The judge, who sat without a jury, said Mr Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence Mr Cairns was involved in match-fixing.  He said: "It is obvious that an allegation that a professional cricketer is a match-fixer goes to the core attributes of his personality and, if true, entirely destroys his reputation for integrity.

The court was told Mr Modi's tweet was picked up by cricket website Cricinfo, who withdrew its report, paid damages and apologised after Mr Cairns complained.

A couple of later now, the case has taken a different turn.  Cairns is reportedly facing charges of perjury.  Media reports suggest  that the stakes are high for Cairns. If the allegations are proven, the British legal system takes a dim view of perjury - lying under oath - even more so when it is done for financial gain. Also at stake for Cairns is his considerable cricketing reputation, with his battle to protect it in essence leading to the circumstances he now finds himself in.  

NZ herald reports that going  into the trial Cairns remains a cricketing great, which heightens world interest in its outcome; after retiring from the international game he played professionally in England and the cricketing hot-bed India. Cricket officials will be nervous about what will be revealed by the evidence presented. Potentially the game could be further tarnished, irrespective of whether the charges against Cairns can be proved. Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum and New Zealand Cricket boss David White are among those down to provide evidence at the jury trial. White is expected to confirm details around the timing of events, rather than give insights into whether games were fixed. Several New Zealanders who played in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) are understood to have made statements to the Metropolitan Police.  Black Caps bowling coach Shane Bond, players' union representative Heath Mills, bowler Andre Adams, batsman Hamish Marshall and disgraced former Black Cap Lou Vincent are said to be on the witness list according to sources close to the game. The list has not been made public. Vincent pleaded guilty last year to corruption breaches, and copped a life ban from cricket.

In that case on Modi’s tweet,  the Kiwi was awarded £90,000 in damages (NZ$180,000), for hurt feelings, injury to reputation and the need for vindication. Cairns also won about $775,000 in court costs.  Now BBC reports that the cricketer r "manipulated the British legal system", a court in London heard. Chris Cairns is being prosecuted for perjury after declaring under oath that he had never cheated at cricket during a libel case in 2012.  Perjury, also known as forswearing, 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.

Mr Cairns, who is also charged with perverting the course of justice, denies all the charges against him. Counsel for the Prosecution said Mr Cairns had been "the golden boy in the cricket world whom every cricketer wished to emulate".  During England's first Twitter libel trial, Mr Cairns said under oath that he had never ever cheated at cricket, which the prosecution claims is untrue. Mr Cairns won damages of $130,000 (£90,000).  The counsel for prosecution told the jury it would hear evidence from the current New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum and former team-mate Lou Vincent, who were both "targetted" by Chris Cairns to help him fix matches. Mr McCullum, she said, refused to have anything to do with it while Lou Vincent was "corrupted by him".

Mr Cairns is also charged with perverting the court of justice. It is alleged that he and co-defendant Andrew Fitch Holland, a barrister friend who had given him legal advice, asked a witness to give false evidence. The court heard a tape of a recorded Skype conversation between Mr Fitch Holland and Mr Vincent, who also played for the Chandigarh Lions under Chris Cairns and has admitted being involved in match-fixing. The prosecution claims the conversation was an attempt to induce Mr Vincent to lie to the court in order to help Mr Cairns's case.

"What all of this recognised was that Chris Cairns was indeed guilty of match-fixing," Ms Wass said. Chris Cairns and Andrew Fitch Holland deny all charges.

So more happening off the Cricket field !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

8th Oct 2015.

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