Former New Zealand captain Chris Cairns was on Monday cleared of perjury charges over match-fixing by a British jury.
The jury of seven women and five men at Southwark Crown Court in London found Cairns, 45, not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice after a nine-week trial.
After the ruling, Cairns said it was like going through “hell”. “It has not been a victory as such, because in a case like this there are no winners. It’s been hell for everyone involved,” he said.
Cairns won £90,000 ($135,000, 128,000 euros) from the libel case, but he was alleged to have lied to the court when he said he had “never, ever cheated at cricket”.
The retired all-rounder was said to have perverted the course of justice by trying to convince fellow cricketer Lou Vincent to provide a false witness statement.
Cairns’ friend and “legal adviser”, barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, was also cleared of perverting the course of justice.
After 10 hours of deliberations the jury was directed to acquit the lawyer by Mr Justice Sweeney in light of the cricketer’s acquittal.
Charges were brought against Cairns after he sued the now-suspended Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi for libel in 2012 over a 2010 tweet in which the administrator accused him of match-fixing.
The allegations against Cairns resurfaced in December 2013 when the International Cricket Council confirmed it was investigating match-fixing claims involving three former New Zealand internationals.
ICC on Monday reacted with caution to the verdict.
“The ICC notes the decision of the jury finding Mr Chris Cairns not guilty and confirms its utmost respect for the process that has been followed,” it said.
“The ICC and its Anti-Corruption Unit will continue to work closely with and provide all possible support to players in order that the fight against corruption can be tackled effectively and collectively.”
Lalit Modi too reacted cautiously.
“I am aware of the verdict at Southwark Crown Court. As you know I am limited in what I can say as I am restricted by the injunction put in place following the 2012 libel trial. I will consider how this affects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course,” he tweeted.