14 Oct 2015

Cairns trial: What you need to know

3:04 pm on 14 October 2015

Cricket fans are transfixed by the trial of former golden boy Chris Cairns, on trial in a London court accused of lying under oath.

Jail looms if he's found guilty. So what led to this?

Chris Cairns heads into a London court to face trial for perjury.

Chris Cairns heads into a London court to face trial for perjury. Photo: Getty


Chris Cairns played cricket for New Zealand for 17 years, notching up 62 Tests, 215 one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals. The prosecution said in its opening statement fellow cricketers described him as a hero, role model and legend.

"He was the golden boy in the cricket world whom every cricketer wanted to emulate."

Cairns is the son of cricketing great Lance Cairns, who represented New Zealand from 1973 to 1986. His sister, Louise, was one of three women killed when the train they were on was hit by a concrete truck at Rolleston, south of Christchurch. She was 19.

Picton-born Cairns, 45, has four children and lives in Auckland.


London's Metropolitan Police last year charged Cairns with perjury, stemming from his successful defamation case in 2012 against former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi.

Cairns objected to a 2010 tweet from Mr Modi that alleged that he was involved in match fixing during the 2008 season of the Indian Cricket League (ICL), while captain of the Chandigarh Lions. Cairns has always vehemently denied the allegations.

Cairns won £90,000 ($NZ174,000) in damages and £400,000 ($NZ775,000) in court costs.

But he's now accused of lying during that trial when he made a statement that he had never cheated at cricket nor would he ever contemplate it.

Also charged is Cairns' barrister and friend, Andrew Fitch-Holland.

Former Indian cricket administrator Lalit Modi

Former Indian cricket administrator Lalit Modi Photo: PHOTOSPORT


No, he's charged purely with perjury. As the prosecution said: "It is important to stress at this stage that Mr Cairns is not being prosecuted in this case for manipulating a cricket game. He is being prosecuted for something far more serious: for manipulating the justice system in this country.

"That is what Chris Cairns did: he lied in his witness statements, he lied on oath and he arranged that others should give false evidence on his behalf."

Match fixing keeps coming up because that's what the sparked his defamation case against Modi.

And in December 2013 the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced it was investigating Cairns and fellow former Black Caps Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey over allegations of match-fixing. Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum has told the ICC "Player X" approached him to match fix in India in March 2008.

Soon after the ICC announced its investigation, Vincent and Tuffey publicly said they were co-operating with investigators while Cairns complained he was being "kept in the dark". Tuffey has repeatedly denied any involvement in match-fixing but Vincent has since confessed to several counts of fixing and been banned from the game for life.

The ICC investigation was effectively subsumed by the police investigation and it is yet to release its findings.

Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum Photo: PHOTOSPORT


Simply because the 2012 defamation case was held there. New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White will appear as a witness, as will McCullum and a number of other high-profile former players. Modi will not be appearing as a witness and will not be at court.


Cairns faces up to seven years in jail. But it might not be over even if he's acquitted as it's likely legal team will pursue a civil claim, because the burden of proof in civil cases generally has a lower threshold than in criminal.

Chris Cairns enters Southwark Crown Court in London on Monday 12 October 2015.

Chris Cairns enters Southwark Crown Court in London on Monday 12 October 2015. Photo: RNZ / Cushla Norman


February 2006: Chris Cairns retires from international cricket

2007: Cairns joins the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL). Captains the Chandigarh Lions in 2007 and 2008 in the ICL, a team which includes former Black Caps team-mates Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey.

2008: Cairns has his contract terminated after three games of the third edition of the ICL. Officials said the reason was his failure to disclose an injury.

2008: Cairns plays for Nottinghamshire in the English Twenty20 cup competition before retiring from cricket at the end of 2008.

January 2010: Former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi alleges on Twitter that Cairns was involved in match fixing during the 2008 season of the ICL, while captain of the Chandigarh Lions.

March 2012: Cairns successfully sues Modi for libel. He wins $174,000 in damages and $775,000 in court costs. The circumstances of Cairns' exit from the now defunct ICL in 2008 is a major focus of the libel case.

December 2013: Cairns, along with two fellow former Black Caps Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey, are named in international media reports as being subject to an ICC investigation over allegations of match-fixing. Soon after, Vincent and Tuffey publicly say they are co-operating with investigators while Cairns complains he is being "kept in the dark". Tuffey has repeatedly denied any involvement in match fixing.

March 2014: London based barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, who gave evidence on Cairns' behalf at the 2012 trial, is arrested by London's Metropolitan Police under suspicion of perverting the course of justice in relation to the libel case.

27 March 2014: Cairns confirms that British police have finally contacted him over allegations of match fixing.

14 May 2014: Britain's Telegraph newspaper reports that former Black Cap Lou Vincent has provided the ICC's anti-corruption unit "with a treasure trove of information about matches which were targeted for spot-fixing and the names of players" involved.

May 2014: In the days following, British media publish excerpts of leaked confidential statements from Vincent and current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum. McCullum's sworn evidence is that "Player X" approached him in India, then England, in 2008 to fix.

30 May 2014: Cairns returns from London after being interviewed by the Metropolitan Police, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the ICC's anti-corruption unit. Cairns says it is extraordinary that Brendon McCullum took three years to report a conversation in which he claims Cairns tried to involve him in match fixing.

July 2014: Lou Vincent stuns the cricketing world by admitting to fixing while at the Chandigarh Lions in 2008, then in the England Counties scene, and during Auckland Aces matches in the 2012 Champions League in South Africa. Hours later Vincent is banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

25 September 2014: Cairns is formally charged by the Metropolitan Police for perjury relating to his 2012 libel trial with Lalit Modi. At the same time London barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland is charged with one count of perverting the course of justice. New Zealand Cricket says the perjury charges laid against Cairns are separate to the match fixing investigation being carried out by the ICC.

January 2015: At a plea and case management hearing Cairns and Andrew Fitch-Holland plead not guilty to their respective charges.