Former New Zealand allrounder Chris Cairns was awarded damages of 90,000 pounds ($140,000) from a British court on Monday after winning a libel case about allegations of fixing that threatened to besmirch his reputation and achievements in the sport.
A judge at London’s High Court said deposed IPL commissioner Lalit Modi “singularly failed” to provide any reliable evidence against Cairns after claiming in a Twitter post in January 2010 that the Kiwi had been barred from the IPL due to “his past record in match-fixing.”
“Today’s verdict lifts a dark cloud that has been over me for the past two years,” Cairns said in a statement.
“I feel great relief that I am able to walk into any cricket ground in the world with my head held high.”
The 41-year-old Cairns, who played 62 tests and 215 ODIs for New Zealand in a 17-year international career, gave evidence that Modi’s claims had turned his achievements in cricket “to dust” and had put a strain on his marriage.
“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 David Bean said. “It is … as serious an allegation as anyone could make against a professional sportsman.”
The judge said Modi can appeal against the amount of damages but not the question of liability. Modi was also ordered to pay 400,000 pounds ($635,000) in costs to Cairns’ solicitors within 28 days.
Cairns, who wasn’t present in court when the verdict was announced, was captain of the Chandigarh Lions in all three editions of the Indian Cricket League from 2007-08 before having his contract terminated in October 2008 allegedly because of his failure to disclose an ankle injury.
Modi’s legal team argued the injury was a cover-up to conceal his involvement in corrupt activity, which centered on the second and third editions of the ICL between March and April 2008 and October and November of the same year.
“I feel mixed emotions,” Cairns said in the statement. “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.”
Modi, who wasn’t called to give evidence in the eight-day trial, was the driving force behind the launch of the Indian Premier League in 2008.
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