Chris Cairns has been compared to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong for bringing shame on the cricket world. Summing up the prosecution case against Cairns at Southwark Crown Court, Sasha Wass, QC, said that the evidence he was involved in match-fixing was "overwhelming".
Cairns has been on trial for the past five weeks, during which time a number of former team-mates have come forward to give evidence against him. He denies two counts of perjury and perverting the course of justice relating to his 2012 libel case against Lalit Modi.
Wass said the testimony of nine witnesses should be considered the "building bricks creating a wall of evidence" against Cairns. She warned the jury that attempts would be made by the defence to undermine the claims of Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum, among others.
Vincent has accused Cairns of ordering him to fix matches at the Indian Cricket League (ICL), while McCullum told of approaches made by his childhood "idol". Vincent's ex-wife Ellie Riley also testified against Cairns, saying he was confident he would not be caught because "everyone was doing it in India".
Wass said Cairns had not provided a "single, credible reason" to question their motives. Vincent's confession to Riley about his involvement in fixing in 2008 undermined the idea that the story of Cairns' involvement had been concocted "late in the day", she said.
"It's unlikely he would have cooked up this plan to stitch up Chris Cairns in 2008 and spent five years working out how to bring his downfall," Wass said of Vincent.
She added: "Why Ellie Riley would lie? She has no great love for her ex husband."
Wass also referred to evidence given by McCullum, as well as Cairns' former New Zealand team-mates Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills and Chris Harris, and Australia batsman Ricky Ponting, suggesting none of them had reason to lie. McCullum interrupted his preparation for a Test match against Australia to appear in court in London.
"The defence say Mr McCullum is lying," she said. "But not a single reason has been put forward why a man, at the height of his career, would come to the Southwark Crown Court to falsely incriminate a man he held in such high regard."
She rejected the idea that the ICC wanted Cairns as a "scalp" in the fight against match-fixing, comparing the case to that involving Armstrong and saying his actions had tarnished the sport.
"Why would anyone, let alone the governing body of cricket, want the scalp of an innocent man," she asked. "The last thing [the ICC] would want to do is bring accusations against an innocent man who has captained his country, represented New Zealand for 17 years.
"On the other hand, the ICC would want to bring a cheat who corrupted others to justice."
The jury heard that Cairns had shown "arrogance beyond belief" in taking Modi to court. Wass said that he and Andrew Fitch-Holland, who denies perverting the course of justice, "should be ashamed of themselves" and that both were "guilty of the charges laid".
She added that the amount of indirect evidence against Cairns was "unanswerable".
"He has made a mockery of the game of cricket, the fans, the game," she said. "We know not only that he cheated, he encouraged others to cheat.
"We say the evidence against Chris Cairns in respect of match-fixing is overwhelming."
Cairns' defence barrister, Orlando Pownall, QC, is expected to present his closing arguments on Monday. The trial continues.