Cairns To Fight Perjury Charge

Chris Cairns, the former New Zealand allrounder, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday to contest a charge of perjury relating to his 2012 libel trial against Lalit Modi. The case was sent to Southwark Crown Court - which deals with criminal cases - and adjourned until October 16.

Cairns was last week charged with making a false statement in judicial proceedings under the Perjury Act, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years. Andrew Fitch-Holland, a barrister who appeared as a witness for Cairns against Modi, faces a count of perverting the course of justice.

Both appeared in the dock and spoke only to confirm personal details. Their legal representatives indicated that the charges would be "fully contested".

In March 2012, Cairns was awarded £90,000 in damages after a High Court judge found that Modi, the former IPL chairman, had libelled him over Twitter. Modi had tweeted in 2010 about Cairns' alleged involvement in match-fixing. Cairns denied the claims and Justice Bean said that Modi had "singularly failed" to prove his case.

In the submissions before presiding magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster it was alleged that Cairns wilfully made a statement in the legal proceedings against Modi "which you knew to be false or did not believe to be true namely that you never, ever cheated at cricket and nor would you contemplate doing such a thing".

Fitch-Holland is charged with asking Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand batsman banned for life earlier this year after admitting his involvement in fixing, to provide a false witness statement in support of Cairns.

Cairns and Fitch-Holland will face a criminal trial, likely to be in mid-2015, after entering their pleas during the case management stage at Southwark Crown Court in two weeks' time. Both were granted unconditional bail.

After being informed that the Crown Prosecution Service intended to press charges last month, Cairns said he would fight to prove his innocence. "I'm obviously extremely disappointed, however, at least there will now be an opportunity to face my accusers in an open forum, with some rigour and proper process around that, so that I can clear my name once and for all," he said.


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