Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns has broken down in a London court after being cleared of charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice.
The jury at the Southwark crown court returned a not-guilty verdict on Monday night following a 10-hour deliberation, ending a nine-week trial.
Cairns, who played for New Zealand’s national team between 1989 and 2006, had been charged following a successful libel case he took against Lalit Modi in 2012. Modi, an Indian businessman, was the former chairman of the Indian Premier League.
That case was sparked by a tweet by Modi that said the cricketer was involved in match-fixing. As a result of the libel trial, Modi had to pay Cairns more that $1 million in costs and damages.
Cairns said during that case he had “never” cheated.
The Crown in England took Cairns to court and brought in a host of people to give evidence against the former all-rounder including New Zealand teammates Brendon McCullum and Lou Vincent who said they had been approached by Cairns to fix matches.
The jury, however, sided with Cairns.
Speaking outside the London court after being cleared Cairns said he was extremely relieved.
“It’s been Hell for the last five or so years, and in particular the last couple of years,” he said.
“I think I’ve been through the mill and come out the other side and [I’m] just a very happy man. I think reputationally, I’m completely scorched. Burnt completely. But it hasn’t stopped me and it won’t stop me.”
Cairns said despite being cleared of the charges he believed his involvement in cricket would likely be over.
“I don’t know what cricket holds for me but I’m just happy for my father and mother that they can hold their heads high in New Zealand,” he said.
“I think it would be a pretty hard environment to go back into. There’s been a lot of damage done and that’s unfortunate and sad.”