London: Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns has been cleared by a British court of charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice over match fixing.
The 45-year-old faced trial in the UK after he successfully sued Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi for accusing him of match fixing on Twitter in 2010.
The libel case netted Cairns 90,000 pound sterling, but he was alleged to have lied to the court when he said he had "never, ever cheated at cricket".
Ex-New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns leaves Southwark Crown Court in central London on Monday. A British jury today cleared former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns of perjury charges over match-fixing in Test cricket. After a nine-week trial the jury of seven women and five men at Southwark Crown Court in London found Cairns, 45, not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice. Pic/AFP
But following a nine-week trial at Southwark Crown Court in London, Cairns was found not guilty by a jury on both charges.
A statement released by Modi's lawyers immediately following the not guilty verdict, said: "I am aware of the verdict at Southwark Crown Court. As you know I am limited in what I can say as I am restricted by the injunction put in place following the 2012 libel trial.
"I will consider how this affects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course."
Cairns said on the court steps here today that despite being found not guilty he felt his reputation had been "completely scorched" and that there was no longer a future for him in cricket. "I think it would be pretty hard ever to go back into the game: there's a lot of damage been done. I think I've been through the mill and come out the other side and yes, I'm a very happy man.
"I don't think it's a victory as such because I don't think in a case like this there are any winners. It's been hell for everyone involved," he said. The UK court heard evidence from more than 30 witnesses during the trial, including former batsman Lou Vincent, Cairns' ex-wife Eleanor Riley and the current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
Vincent, currently serving a life ban from cricket for his role in match-fixing, had told the court that Cairns had given him "direct orders" to under-perform when playing for his Chandigarh Lions team and the World XI in the 2008 Indian Cricket League, an unofficial Twenty20 tournament.
The judge had instructed the jury to treat Vincent's testimony with caution due to his own history of corruption in cricket. The International Cricket Council (ICC) responded to the verdict with a brief statement, saying: "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 and its anti-corruption unit 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. The ICC will not make any further comment on this matter."
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