The Chris Cairns saga

Timeline of a trial


Chris Cairns addresses the media after he was acquitted of perjury, London, November 30, 2015
Chris Cairns addresses the media after he was acquitted of perjury © AFP
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Players/Officials: Chris Cairns
Teams: New Zealand

Oct 5: Mr Justice Sweeney outlines the case against Chris Cairns and his former legal advisor Andrew Fitch-Holland. Cairns is charged on two counts. The first, perjury, is that he "wilfully made a statement... which he knew to be false, namely that he has 'never, ever cheated at cricket and nor would he ever contemplate such a thing'" during his libel action against Lalit Modi, the former IPL chairman, in 2012. The second, perverting the course of justice - of which Finch-Holland is also accused - is that both men tried to persuade Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand batsman and a confessed match-fixer, to provide false witness statements during the Modi trial.

Oct 12: Vincent testifies that, in 2008, Cairns offered him $US50,000 to underperform while they were team-mates with Chandigarh Lions in the Indian Cricket League. Vincent describes how his depression, specifically the "meltdown" he suffered after being dropped by New Zealand in 2007, made him vulnerable to match-fixing approaches.

Oct 14: According to Vincent, former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming approached him in a bar and accused him and Cairns of being "dirty".

Oct 15: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum alleges Cairns asked him to participate in match-fixing on three occasions in 2008: twice in Kolkata, once in Worcester. McCullum did not report the approaches to the ICC until 2011 because he "did not want it to be true". The defence suggest McCullum's three statements (two to the ICC, one to police) had been inconsistent, and that he was trying to protect "Brand McCullum". Asked why he had not come forward with evidence during the Modi trial, McCullum claims it was "not my responsibility".

Oct 16: The court hears evidence via video link from Andre Adams and Kyle Mills, two former New Zealand players. Adams claims Cairns told him corruption in the ICL could not be investigated properly because the tournament had not been sanctioned by the ICC. Mills says McCullum told him in 2009 about Cairns's alleged approaches to him.

Oct 19: Eleanor Riley, Vincent's ex-wife, claims Cairns told her at a bar in Manchester in 2008 that he was "very confident" he could get away with match-fixing as "everyone was doing it in India". Riley stresses her acrimonious divorce from Vincent means she has no motive to lie on his behalf. The defence suggest her testimony is unreliable as she had been drinking heavily at the time of the conversation.

Oct 20: Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting describes how he overheard a phone conversation between McCullum and Cairns during which they discussed a "business proposition".

Oct 21: Sir Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit, denies the organisation are determined to prosecute a famous player.

Oct 22: Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori tells the court he is aware McCullum was approached by Cairns, which he advised McCullum to report. Vettori describes an incident in which he asked Cairns to buy him a $15,000 diamond ring, payment for appearing in an Indian toothpaste commercial, as "fairly innocuous".

Oct 26: Chris Harris, a former New Zealand all-rounder, claims Cairns "almost seemed like he was not pleased" when Chandigarh Lions beat Mumbai Champs in a 2008 ICL game 'containing a number of strange incidents'.

Oct 28: The jury are played statements made by Cairns to the Metropolitan Police in April and May 2014, in which he reacts angrily to allegations of corruption: "Seriously? These are the accusations in regard to this? I've been fucked over."

Oct 29: Representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service are asked by the defence why criminal charges have not yet been brought against Vincent. Detective chief superintendent Michael Duthie says the police are primarily concerned with investigating the allegations against Cairns; match-fixing issues, he says, are the responsibility of the ECB and the ICC.

Nov 3: Cairns takes the stand, frequently responding with one word when asked if he has ever contemplated or been involved with match-fixing: "No."

Nov 4: The judge warns Cairns to stop "making speeches". He is asked to explain why he received a $250,000 retainer to work for Indian diamond firm Vijay Dimon; Cairns insists his business dealings are legitimate. Asked why the owners of the firm, Vijay and Vishal Shah, had not come forward to testify on his behalf, Cairns says: "I've become rather toxic because of everything that has gone on. I understand why they would not want to come here and be with me."

Nov 5: Via video link, Mel Cairns - Cairns's wife - denies discussing match-fixing with Riley in 2008: "I would never lie to help my husband in court."

Nov 10: Fitch-Holland denies that a recorded Skype conversation between him and Vincent proves he tried to procure a false witness statement at the 2012 libel trial.

Nov 12: The prosecution close their case by calling Cairns the "Lance Armstrong" of cricket. Sasha Wass, QC, claims the defence have failed to establish a credible motive for the willingness of prosecution witnesses to fabricate their statements. There was no reason, she adds, for the ICC to pursue an innocent man, and calls the evidence laid against Cairns "unanswerable".

Nov 16: Defence counsel Orlando Pownall, QC, claims that four prosecution witnesses - McCullum, Vincent, Vettori and Riley - all lied. He argues that Vincent's primary motivation for inventing testimony was to allow him to create publicity for an upcoming book: "We submit the title won't be The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth." Pownall says cricket's hierarchy decided to target Cairns because they needed "a big scalp".

Nov 17:Pownall says the case against Cairns is built on nothing "beyond rumour"and "self-motivated lies". He highlights apparent inconsistencies in McCullum's testimony, and theorises that McCullum and Vettori could have lied in order to support Modi, supposedly helping them retain their lucrative IPL contracts.

Nov 18: Jonathan Laidlaw, QC, finishes his defence of Fitch-Holland by claiming the prosecution were so focused on Cairns that his client's case has become "a sideshow". The jury, says Laidlaw, are being asked to trust the word of Vincent, a man who had "lied and lied and has literally escaped scot-free".

Nov 20:Mr Justice Sweeney begins his summing up by warning the jury of the "potential danger" of believing the testimony of Vincent, who "might have his own interests to serve in giving evidence".

Nov 23: The jury retire after the judge describes Riley's evidence as "the most important" in the trial, as it emanated directly from an alleged conversation with Cairns.

Nov 30: After 10 hours 17 minutes of deliberation, the jury find Cairns and Fitch- Holland not guilty on all charges.

Compiled by James McCall

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