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.
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.
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).