London, Nov 30 (IANS) Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns has been acquitted of perjury and perverting the course of justice after a jury at Southwark crown court returned a verdict of not guilty here 1on Monday.
Cairns was accused of lying under oath when he told a court in 2012 during a victory in a libel case over the former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi, that he had never cheated at cricket and would not contemplate doing so.
Modi had accused Cairns of match-fixing while he was the captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008.
Although Cairns had won the case, he and his former legal adviser Andrew Fitch-Holland were accused of perverting the course of justice by inducing fellow New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent to give a false witness statement.
Monday’s verdict brings to an end the nine-week trial that began on October 5.
Cairns was relieved with the verdict, but lamented that his reputation has been destroyed by the controversy.
“It’s not a victory as such because in a case like this, I really don’t think there are any winners. It’s been hell for everybody involved. I think reputationally I’m completely scorched, burned completely, but it hasn’t stopped me and it won’t stop me,” the 45-year-old was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“I think it would be pretty hard ever to go back into the game: there’s a lot of damage been done,” he added. “I think I’ve been through the mill and come out the other side and yes, I’ a very happy man.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) welcomed the verdict and vowed to continue its efforts against corruption in the game.
“The ICC notes the decision of the jury finding Mr Chris Cairns not guilty and confirms its utmost respect for the process that has been followed,” the ICC said in a statement.
“The ICC and its ACU will continue to work closely with and provide all possible support to players in order that the fight against corruption can be tackled effectively and collectively.”
Cairns, who played 62 Test matches and 215 one-day internationals for his country from 1989 to 2006, is consider to be one of the greatest all-rounders to represent New Zealand.