London: New Zealand cricket great Chris Cairns appeared in a London court on Thursday to face a charge of perjury relating to a libel action he brought in England in 2012. Cairns won Â£90,000 ($146,000) after he sued former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi over a 2010 tweet accusing the all-rounder of match-fixing during his time in the now defunct Indian Cricket League.
However, Cairns was charged with perjury last month and appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London on Thursday. Cairns, who lives in Auckland, appeared alongside lawyer Andrew Fitch-Holland, who faces one count of perverting the course of justice. Fitch-Holland, 49, was lead adviser to Cairns in the action against Modi. The pair spoke only to give their names, dates of birth and addresses before the case was sent to London's Southwark Crown Court, with the next hearing on October 16. They were given unconditional bail.
Lawyers for the pair indicated they would contest the charges. Both Cairns and Fitch-Holland left the court without commenting. After learning he would be charged, the 44-year-old Cairns said in a statement he had "nothing to hide" and he would do "whatever it takes" to prove his innocence and "clear my name once and for all." In 2007 and 2008, Cairns captained the Chandigarh Lions in the ICL, which has since been superceded by the Indian board-backed IPL. Modi's allegation related to the second and third editions of the competition in 2008.
Cairns has been charged with making a false statement, namely that he had never cheated at cricket nor would he contemplate doing such a thing. Fitch-Holland is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice by asking former New Zealand player Lou Vincent to provide a false witness statement in the libel action. Cairns retired from international cricket in 2004 after becoming one of only 12 players in Test history to complete the 'double' of 200 wickets and 3,000 runs.