Judge 'not impressed' by Chris Cairns no-show

Ex-Black Cap "fully-engaged" but in the wrong country, his lawyer explains.

An Old Bailey judge said he was "not impressed" after Chris Cairns failed to show up for a pre-trial hearing in London.

The former Black Caps captain has pleaded not guilty to a perjury charge, stemming from his 2012 libel trial over match-fixing allegations. The full trial is scheduled for October.

Mr Cairns' lawyer, Simon Ray, told the court it had "escaped everybody's attention" that his client had been required to attend. Mr Cairns was in Australia.

"He means no discourtesy by his absence, and he's fully engaged with the process and will be here for trial, of course," Mr Ray said.

Mr Cairns won £90,000 ($210,000) damages in 2012 when he sued Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi over a tweet that accused him of match-fixing. The crown now alleges Mr Cairns made a statement during that trial that he knew to be false when he declared he'd "never, ever cheated at cricket".

Mr Cairns' lawyer in the 2012 case, Andrew Fitch-Holland is his co-defendant in the October trial. The barrister is accused of asking another former Black Cap, Lou Vincent, to provide a false witness statement in connection with the libel action between Mr Cairns and Mr Modi

Justice Nigel Sweeney said he was "not impressed ... more so because I refused Mr Fitch-Holland's application not to be here this morning. His co-defendant is not here when he should be. It's not going to result in dire consequences, but it's not good."

The full trial will begin on October 5 and is scheduled for four weeks. 

Former New Zealand cricketers Shane Bond and Andre Adams are among those slated to testify. Both will appear remotely via video links.

Mr Cairns faces up to seven years imprisonment if the perjury charges stick.

Mr Modi declared himself bankrupt shortly before the 2012 verdict.

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