4 Nov 2015

Chris Cairns gives evidence at perjury trial

9:57 am on 4 November 2015

Taking his place in the witness box for the first time at his perjury trial in London, Chris Cairns has rejected all accusations of match fixing.

Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns leaves Southwark Crown Court in London in October 2014.

Chris Cairns leaves Southwark Crown Court in London in October 2014 (file photo). Photo: AFP

Cairns, 45, is on trial accused of lying in court about match fixing during his successful 2012 libel case.

The former cricketer has been accused by Black Cap captain Brendon McCullum and disgraced player Lou Vincent of asking them to fix for him.

Asked at Southwark Crown Court if he was at any stage involved in match fixing, or whether he had contemplated match fixing, Cairns replied "no" to both questions, however accepted he "could well have" discussed the subject with McCullum.

Cairns had said in his police interview he could not recall whether he had met McCullum in India. On Tuesday he told the court he could now concur with McCullum that they had met in Kolkata in April 2008.

McCullum's evidence was that Cairns explained to him how to spread bet using a piece of paper. Asked by defence lawyer Orlando Pownall QC if he had done that, Cairns replied he "could well have" adding that "Brendon McCullum is not a shrinking violet, didn't need to be explained the ins and outs of gambling and was an adept poker player".

Cairns disputed evidence from ICC anti-corruption officer John Rhodes that spread betting was fixing. "To cubby-hole it and say spread betting is fixing is wrong," said Cairns.

He told that court that the discussion with McCullum was a general one and they only talked about match fixing "because it was topical". Cairns said if he had approached McCullum to match fix, as accused, he would have expected the New Zealand skipper to have reported it immediately.

Vincent's accusations

Cairns told the jury he could not recall Vincent telling him he was approached by a bookie in India to fix.

Vincent's evidence is that he told Cairns about that approach, and that Cairns told him reporting it was good cover and that Vincent was now working for him. Orlando Pownall QC asked Cairns if there was any truth to Vincent's account and whether he sought to persuade Vincent to underperform. Cairns replied "no" to both questions.

Cairns said he had had never paid Vincent any money, including $2500 cash in an envelope Vincent said the cricketer gave him for spending in Dubai.

In his evidence, Vincent had told the court of a cricket match where his fixing skills failed him and he scored 28 runs off 27 balls, making Cairns angry. The court was shown video footage from that match of Vincent hitting a six, which Vincent had earlier told the court was an appalling shot, and him trying to get himself out. Cairns, however, argued it was a "very good shot" and said there was nothing in it to suggest he was trying to get out. Cairns said he was "pretty livid" when Vincent was out, but not for the reasons Vincent claimed. "We were in a good position, he should have seen us through," said Cairns.

Cairns was asked about accusations by Vincent and his ex-wife Eleanor Riley that match fixing was discussed with them and Cairns' wife Mel during a night of eating and drinking at Hale, England, in the summer of 2008. He said the quartet had had quite a lot to drink but match fixing was never discussed. He told the court that had Mel, who works in the sporting industry, heard talk of match fixing "she would have run."

Modi tweet "horror"

Cairns told the court his reaction was one of "horror" when he found out former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi had tweeted in January 2010 allegations that Cairns had been involved in match fixing.

Cairns successfully sued Modi for defamation and was awarded £90,000 in damages.

He said in court on Tuesday he did not launch legal action for money, and just wanted an apology. He said he was prepared to settle with Modi, however the cricketing administrator did not offer him enough to cover his costs. Cairns had to borrow £45,000 from a friend in Dubai to cover lawyers' fees.

Cairns was mostly composed throughout the day, but became emotional when talking about his life after the 2012 libel case and why he had decided to remain in Australia. He told the court his daughter Issy, now aged four, had been born with profound hearing loss and needed the best care. "I miss her ... so we stayed there," Cairns told the court.

Cairns' finances

Earlier in the day, Cairns' finances and earnings as a professional cricketer playing in New Zealand, England and India were outlined to the jury.

Cairns told the court that from 2002, when New Zealand Cricket introduced a collective agreement, his pay dropped considerably to between $NZ75,000 and $NZ100,000 a year.

He told the jury the $US350,000-a-year contract he signed in 2008 to play in the Indian Cricket League was the most he had ever been paid to play cricket and he was very excited about earning that much money.

Cairns owned one mortgaged house in New Zealand, which he sold in 2007, and had not bought any property anywhere since.

The prosecution will begin its cross-examination of Cairns tomorrow.