Chris Cairns wins £90,000 over fix claims

 

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns won £90,000 libel damages today over an accusation of match-fixing which he said turned his achievements to "dust".

The 41-year-old, who notched up the rare double of 200 wickets and 3,000 runs in his 62 Tests, had sued Lalit Modi, ex-chairman of Twenty20 franchise the Indian Premier League (IPL), over an "unequivocal allegation" on Twitter in January 2010.

He was not at London's High Court for the ruling by Mr Justice Bean, who heard the case without a jury.

The judge said that Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot- fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was.

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 allegation is not as serious as one of involvement in terrorism or sexual offences (to take two examples from recent cases). But it is otherwise as serious an allegation as anyone could make against a professional sportsman."

The judge heard that Modi's tweet was picked up by cricket website Cricinfo.

When Cairns complained, Cricinfo withdrew its report, paid damages and apologised - but Modi declined to apologise and pleaded justification, maintaining that the charge was true.

Cairns's case was that it was "wholly untrue" and a very grave libel which could destroy all he had achieved over a distinguished 20-year career.

In evidence, he said: "The defendant's allegations have also had a profound effect on my personal and private life.

"It put a strain on my marriage. It hurts that my wife may think that I am not the man she thought I was.

"It hurts me too that friends, many of whom are former cricketing foes, will question my integrity as a man and a sportsman and that all I achieved in the great game of cricket is dust."

In 2007 and 2008, Cairns captained the Chandigarh Lions in three competitions in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), which flourished briefly before the ascendancy of the IPL.

The allegation made by Modi related to the second and third of these competitions, between March and April 2008 and October and November that year.

Later, Cairns said in a statement: "Today's verdict lifts a dark cloud that has been over me for the past two years. I feel mixed emotions.

"Firstly, sadness that I should ever have had to put myself, my friends and my family through this because of one man's misdirected allegations.

"But I also feel great joy because my past career has come through unscathed and remains intact and because I had the courage to stand up in the highest court to defend my name."

He added: "Lastly, I feel great relief that I am able to walk into any cricket ground in the world with my head held high."

The judge granted Modi permission to appeal over the amount of damages but refused permission on the question of liability, although Modi's lawyers are set to pursue that application with the Court of Appeal direct.

He also ordered Modi to pay £400,000 on account of costs to Cairns' solicitors within 28 days.

In his ruling, the judge said a claim by Modi's lawyers that the case was an example of libel tourism was misguided, as Cairns went to school in England, as did his children, and he played county cricket for seven seasons.

Also, Modi - who was not called to give evidence during the eight-day trial - had been resident in England since mid-2010.

He rejected a claim by Ronald Thwaites QC, for Modi, that Cairns had given "incredible evidence" on a number of points.

"Despite prolonged, searching and occasionally intrusive questioning about his sporting, financial and personal life, he emerged essentially unscathed."

He said evidence given by cricketers Gaurav Gupta, Rajesh Sharma and Tejinder Pal Singh was not to be believed and hearsay evidence from Amit Uniyal and Love Ablish was inconsistent and unreliable, while that of Karanveer Singh fell well short of sustaining Modi's case.

"Even if I were applying a simple balance of probabilities test, the plea of justification would fail in both respects."

The judge said Modi's lawyers had launched a "sustained and aggressive" attack on Cairns, which must be taken to have been made on his instructions.

In Mr Thwaites's closing speech to the court, the words "liar", "lie" and "lies" were used 24 times.

To reflect that, said the judge, he had increased the damages by about 20%, from a starting point of £75,000 to £90,000.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee