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Chris Cairns awarded 90k in damages after false match-fixing allegations

Ex-New Zealand skipper Cairns awarded 90k after false allegations of match-fixing

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UPDATED:

10:43 GMT, 26 March 2012

Damages: Cairns has been awarded 90,000

Damages: Cairns has been awarded 90,000

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns has won 90,000 in libel damages over an accusation of match-fixing which he said turned his achievements to 'dust'.

The 41-year-old, who notched up the rare double of 200 wickets and 3,000 runs in his 62 Tests, had sued Lalit Modi, ex-chairman of Twenty20 franchise the Indian Premier League (IPL), over an 'unequivocal allegation' on Twitter in January 2010.

He was not at London's High Court for the ruling by Mr Justice Bean, who heard the case without a jury.

The
judge said that Modi had 'singularly failed' to provide any reliable
evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing, or
even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was.

He said: 'It is obvious that an allegation that a professional cricketer is a match-fixer goes to the core attributes of his personality and, if true, entirely destroys his reputation for integrity.

Allegation: Cairns was accused of match-fixing

Allegation: Cairns was accused of match-fixing

'The allegation is not as serious as one of involvement in terrorism or sexual offences (to take two examples from recent cases). But it is otherwise as serious an allegation as anyone could make against a professional sportsman.'

Cairns said in a statement: 'Today's
verdict lifts a dark cloud that has been over me for the past two years.
I feel mixed emotions.

'Firstly, sadness that I should ever
have had to put myself, my friends and my family through this because of
one man's misdirected allegations.

'But I also feel great joy because my
past career has come through unscathed and remains intact and because I
had the courage to stand up in the highest court to defend my name.'

He added: 'Lastly, I feel great relief that I am able to walk into any cricket ground in the world with my head held high.'

The judge granted Modi permission to
appeal over the amount of damages but refused permission on the
question of liability, although Modi's lawyers are set to pursue that
application with the Court of Appeal direct.

He also ordered Modi to pay 400,000 on account of costs to Cairns' solicitors within 28 days.

The judge heard that Modi's tweet was picked up by cricket website Cricinfo. When Cairns complained, Cricinfo withdrew its report, paid damages and apologised – but Modi declined to apologise and pleaded justification, maintaining that the charge was true.

Cairns's case was that it was 'wholly untrue' and a very grave libel which could destroy all he had achieved over a distinguished 20-year career.

In evidence, he said: 'The defendant's allegations have also had a profound effect on my personal and private life.

'It put a strain on my marriage. It hurts that my wife may think that I am not the man she thought I was.

'It hurts me too that friends, many of whom are former cricketing foes, will question my integrity as a man and a sportsman and that all I achieved in the great game of cricket is dust.'

In 2007 and 2008, Cairns captained the Chandigarh Lions in three competitions in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), which flourished briefly before the ascendancy of the IPL.

The allegation made by Modi related to the second and third of these competitions, between March and April 2008 and October and November that year.