Jury clears Cairns in perjury trial

The jury's majority verdict acquitted the former Black Cap cricketer after a nine-week trial.

Former Black Caps allrounder Chris Cairns has been found not guilty of perjury in one of New Zealand sport’s most dramatic trials.  

He and his co-accused, lawyer Andrew Fitch-Holland, have also been found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Outside the court, Mr Cairns, 45, described his reputation as "scorched" despite the verdict, which followed 10 hours of deliberation by the jury.

He said he wasn't quite sure of the decision when it was delivered.

"At the start, I couldn't quite hear the foreman, I didn't actually know what he'd said, so when I saw Fitch's face and the jubilation there, it came to roost what had occurred," he told a crowd of media.

"I've been through the mill and come out the other side a very happy man.

"Reputationally, I'm completely scorched, burnt completely, but it hasn't stopped me and it won't stop me, I'll keep going forward."

The jury's verdict followed clear directions from Justice Nigel Sweeney that much of the evidence was unreliable.

 The trial in Southwark Crown Court, London, lasted nine weeks, featured testimony from an array of high-profile witnesses, including Brendon McCullum, and was reported extensively around the world.

The jury returned to its deliberations on Monday after the judge indicated last week he would accept a majority verdict. 

The charges stemmed from Mr Cairns' 2012 libel trial in which he won £90,000 ($210,000) damages when he sued Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi over a tweet that accused him of match-fixing. Mr Modi also had to pay Mr Cairns legal fees of £1 million. 

Mr Fitch-Holland, who was Mr Cairns' lawyer in the 2012 case, was accused of asking another former Black Cap, Lou Vincent, to provide a false witness statement.

Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum, former captain Daniel Vettori, Mr Vincent, Mr Cairns and former Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting all gave evidence.

Mr Cairns was defended by Orlando Pownell, QC, while the prosecution was represented by Sasha Wass, QC.

Mr Cairns was one of New Zealand’s top cricketers in his prime, playing 62 test matches and 215 one-day internationals for the Black Caps.

Meanwhile Mr Modi is expected to go ahead with a civil claim to overturn the libel case Mr Cairns won in 2012. He says he is considering how the current verdict will affect his action.

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