Former New Zealand captain Chris Cairns believes his reputation has been “scorched” despite being acquitted of perjury and perverting the course of justice on Monday.
Cairns, 45, was cleared at the end of a nine-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, having been accused of lying when he stated under oath during a 2012 libel trial that he had never cheated at cricket.
He was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice after being accused of trying to obtain false witness statements for that libel trial, which he won against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi.
“It’s been hell for the last five or so years and in particular the last couple of years,” he said. “Having won the legal case in the Royal Courts of Justice and now here, I’m a very happy man. I’ve been through the mill and come through the other side.”
Cairns said he was “exhausted” and looking forward to seeing his family but ruled out a return to working in cricket, having been employed as a media commentator following his retirement.
“Reputationally I’m completely scorched; burned, completely,” he added. “I don’t know what cricket holds for me but I’m happy for father and mother that they can hold their heads high in New Zealand. You have to be a bit careful, it’s not a victory as such. There are no winners.”
Cairns, whose legal adviser Andrew Fitch-Holland was also cleared of perverting the course of justice, captained New Zealand’s one-day team and played 62 Tests between 1989 and 2004.
The legal battle stemmed from a statement made by Modi on Twitter in 2010 in which he accused Cairns of fixing matches while captaining Chandigarh Lions in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League two years previously.
He successfully sued Modi, who was ordered to pay him £90,000 as part of a £1.4m settlement that also included legal fees in Britain’s first ever Twitter libel trial in 2012.
Cairns was then accused of having lied under oath during that trial, when he said he had “never ever cheated at cricket”, and alleged to have induced former team-mate Lou Vincent to make false statements.
A jury acquitted Cairns following 10 hours of deliberations and after hearing witness statements from Vincent, his wife Eleanor Riley and current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.