18 Nov 2015

Cairns defence closes, says McCullum changed his story

10:10 am on 18 November 2015

The defence in Chris Cairns' perjury trial has used its closing argument to attack the Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum, telling the jury his story has changed over time.

Chris Cairns

Chris Cairns Photo: AFP

Cairns is on trial in London accused of lying under oath in court about match fixing during his successful 2012 libel case.

His lawyer Orlando Pownall told the court there was no dispute that Cairns and McCullum met in a Kolkota hotel in 2008, but McCullum's description of what was said in that meeting was different in his three statements to authorities between 2011 and 2014.

McCullum, a principal Crown witness, had earlier told the court Cairns approached him to spot fix in India when he was playing in the Indian Premier League and then later in England.

Mr Pownall told the court McCullum only used the phrase "spread betting" in his 2011 statement and it was not until 2013, when fellow cricketer Lou Vincent came forward, that he referred to match fixing.

Then in McCullum's 2014 statement the names Vincent and Daryl Tuffey appeared as match fixers, he said.

"If Lou Vincent hadn't come forward it would have all been buried. Because he came forward, Mr McCullum's earlier account could not have been ignored."

The defence also questioned why Cairns would approach McCullum, who was making good money in the Indian Premier League, the rival competition to the Indian Cricket League Cairns was playing in.

"Why would Mr Cairns seek to recruit Mr McCullum, a young player - only 28 - being paid huge amounts of money at the peak of his game, not yet reached the zenith of his career."

He challenged why Cairns would chase a player from a different competition.

"Why would Mr Cairns, who was earning a lot of money at Chandigarh, wish to recruit a single player in the IPL - a tournament he was not playing in, and in which he had no other player? The Crown have been at pains to emphasize you need more than one player to turn a game."

Mr Pownall said McCullum's claims of Cairns being his "hero" had been overblown and told the jury those words never appeared in his initial statements and had been rehearsed for this trial.

Daniel Vettori, the former Black Caps captain, also came under attack. He was accused of deliberately mis-remembering when McCullum told him Cairns had made his approach to avoid getting in trouble for delayed reporting.

Earlier, Vettori had told the court he had made a mistake about when McCullum told him about Cairns, and that it was 2008 and not 2010 as he said in his ICC statement.

"The defence suggest Mr Vettori has not told the truth, not that he has been an evil purveyor of lies, that would be a mischaracterisation, but for his own benefit has seen it fit to mislead."

In his final remarks, Mr Pownall said that the case was one "born of rumour upon rumour" and sustained by a biased investigation which assumed Cairns was guilty and turned its back on properly investigating Vincent an "acknowledged cheat."

"Beyond the rumour and beyond the self-motivated lies you cannot be sure Chris Cairns is guilty and we invite you to acquit," Mr Pownall told the jurors.