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Cairns may see nothing of £90,000 libel win

Chris Cairns has been awarded £90,000 ($NZ178,000) damages in his High Court libel action over an accusation of match-fixing.

The former Black Cap has also been paid a £10,000 ($NZ19,800) settlement by Cricinfo, the ESPN-owned website that first reported the allegation. 

The action was brought by Mr Cairns against former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi over posts Mr Modi made on social network Twitter in 2010.

Mr Modi was ordered to pay £400,000 in costs to Mr Cairns' lawyers within 28 days (on top of his own legal bill, estimated around £1 million).

The damages and costs mean Mr Modi's 26-word tweet has cost him (so far) £53,846 per word.

How much money will be extracted from Mr Modi is still unsure, however, as there are reports he recently bankrupted himself over a £65,000 bill owed to a private security firm.

A spokesman for Mr Cairns legal team said it should be clear to the judge that Mr Modi is "still a man of considerable means."

Modi: considering appeal
In a brief statement to media, Mr Modi said: "I have received the judgment and I am immediately considering an appeal with my legal team. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment any further at this time."

Justice David Bean granted Mr Modi leave to appeal the amount of damages, but refused permission on the question of liability.

Singularly failed
The two-week case began in London on March 5, and was heard soley by Justice Bean.

Handing down his decision (11pm Monday night NZ time) Justice Bean said Mr Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Mr Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot- fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was.

 "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," Justice Bean said.

"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."

20% extra for aggression
Justice Bean said he used a starting point of £75,000 damages, which he increased to £90,000 due to the aggressive tone taken by Mr Modi's defence.

In his closing argument, Mr Modi's lawyer, Ronald Thwaites QC, used the words "liar", "lie" or "lies" 24 times.

Not libel tourism
Mr Modi's legal team alleged that Mr Cairns was indulging in so-called "libel tourism," or bringing a case in the UK because of the perception its libel laws favour applicants.

Justice Bean rejected the claim in his judgment, pointing out Mr Cairns' children went to school in England, that he had played county cricket for seven seasons, and that Mr Modi - resident in India at the time of the offending tweet - had lived in the UK since the summer of 2010.

Mixed emotions
In a statement to media, Chris Cairns said,  "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."

Mr Cairns captained the Chandigarh Lions during the 2007/8 season in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), a rival to Mr Modi's Indian Premiere League (IPL).

Comments and questions

This is not looking good for Lance.

Why?? what has Lance done other than be the father of the accused??

He was at the twilight of his career, and you know.........

In this case Chris is not the accused.

Black Caps good enough to control a game and throw it? Yeah right

I’m glad Chris Cairns cleared his name, and what a resounding clearing.

When you read the earlier comments from people (some of whom often comment on this site) it is pretty clear they don't know what they are talking about, i.e. ‘shoot from the hip’ type people. This is a good thing to know, as I will now avoid reading their individual ill-informed comments on other issues.

I guess some, me included, presumed NBR bloggers would be smart/intelligent and know a little more about issues than, say, NZ Herald bloggers. I think this makes me as culpable of being ill-informed as some of these idiots that blog on this site.

Is the typical NBR blogger a faceless salaried office worker / middle management in a large corporate, or a successful business person in his or her own right? I think I am starting to form my conclusion.

From what you read, I don't think Chris is going to collect much coinage; but the main thing is that he's cleared his name.

Hmmm ... read the comments on NBR, and then read the commentary on, and be very afraid.

The average Kiwi seems to have an inbuilt need to be a slave of the State. They have no ability to look past personalities (and that only from a point of view of envious venom) and think on the underlying principles that operate behind issues.

Classical liberalism has been destroyed and replaced by a frightening, unthinking, Statism in all things.

Good on Chris Cairns for clearing name. Gutsy, and worth it. An individual thinking, living, and pursuing his happiness.

He was a brave man to leave this for the courts to decide. Good on him though as sometimes its is best to ignore things rather than "protest too loudly" these days.

looking at the numbers it is the lawyers who win - most of the money is for legal fees!!!

The reason why the legal bill is so high is because Barry Hart was part of Cairns' legal team. Barry needs to save his farms, somehow.

He should probably check the bill too.

Damages in any High Court libel action should at least double the actual cost, to deter any irresponsible case....wake up, all COMMONWEALTH Nations.

Some victory. Modi is unlikely to pay up the Cairns legal fees so I hope Cairns is well heeled as he has just peed $800,000 up against the wall.

this is only the start - round 2 will commence soon - ding ding

FFS - How about you proof the whole article for the Lodi v Modi stuff up?

I'm glad for Cairns and his family. I don't think Modi will appeal - he must realise he will only be throwing good money after bad. I think Modi knows he has annoyed the Judge and will be made to pay up - or face serious consequences.

How about a jail term of 12 mths for Mr Modi if he doesn't pay up by a certan date, that will rattle the dags of the slippery creature who thinks he is above all others.

Modi was NEVER going to pay. This was apparrent from day one ! Why would he be the exception to other punters from that continent ?

I fully support Cairns, good on him,Modi going bankrupt half way through the case for unpaid bills seriously affected his credibility I suspect in the eyes of the judge , unfortunately Cairns will never see a cent but has showed Modi up to be the liar he is.

Chris cairns aint a Cheat Bro. Check out that facebook page, they were backing chris from the start...!!!How many of you people out there gave him any support until now? shame on you. And now it seems that most of you a squabling about the payout?? wtf... This guy Modi called all New Zealanders cheats and Lyers.. Against one.. against us all.. but to much trouble for anyone to stick their neck out before..!!! Shame on you all.