Cricket libel award appeal fails

 

An appeal against a £90,000 libel award to former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns over an accusation of match-fixing has failed.

Cairns, 42, sued Lalit Modi, ex-chairman of Twenty20 franchise the Indian Premier League (IPL), over an “unequivocal allegation” on Twitter in January 2010 which, he said, turned his achievements to “dust”.

In March, Mr Justice Bean ruled 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.“

He said Modi's lawyers had launched a ”sustained and aggressive“ attack on Cairns, with the words ”liar“, ”lie“ and ”lies“ used 24 times.

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

Today, three judges in the Court of Appeal headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, said the awards were proportionate to the seriousness of the allegation and its direct impact on Cairns himself - and would serve to vindicate his reputation.

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.

PA

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