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Chris Cairns: Song of the Tall Poppy

Written By: - Date published: 10:12 am, December 1st, 2015 - 111 comments
Categories: Ethics, law, rumour, spin, sport, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

Former Kiwi cricketer Chris Cairns and his legal advisor Andrew Fitch-Holland have been cleared of all charges  of perjury. Any other result would have been a travesty, because the prosecution case was entirely based on gossip and innuendo. How the case even got to court puzzles me; surely the Crown Prosecution Service knew that they had no substantial evidence, no smoking gun. Perhaps they though they could provoke Cairns into a rash admission on the stand? It would have been their only hope, but he’s clearly a stronger character than that.

But the trial went ahead and a very predictable outcome was reached. I hope Chris Cairns moves on now and builds a life of his choosing. I admired his cricketing prowess and his work for charity. I also hope Lou Vincent moves on with his life. He’s still a young man, who has struggled with illness and been open about his moral failings. The most nervous man at the moment may be Black Caps captain Brendan McCullum, who admitted that he failed to report what he claimed to know about specific match fixing in a timely manner. There may be more to come on that score.

So what are the politics of the case?

Well, first up. Lets acknowledge that it was played out under the rule of law. It’s common for some people to say that the justice system in the western world is various shades of broken, but here was a sensible result.

Cairns and Fitch-Holland also had access to a taxpayer funded defence. Lets be clear, that would not happen here in NZ, because the Tories have kneecapped legal aid. They’ve limited who can get it and made it as unattractive as possible for good lawyers. Legal aid used to be a guarantee that working class Kiwis had a chance in court. Not now.

Secondly, corruption. It’s been four decades or more since  cricket was commercialised. Most of the revenue generated has been open and legitimate and has allowed cricketers of varying talents to make a reasonable living from the game. But in the last decade, the growth of live satellite coverage and internet betting has made informal and corrupt betting an astonishingly lucrative adjunct to the game.

Gambling on the intricacies of cricket is almost all pervasive, but it’s one of the oddities of the sport that when the third umpire completely duffed the dismissal of an Aussie batter in Adelaide a few days ago, nobody much screamed “FIX!”. Perhaps we only think of match fixing as an Asian issue. If so, that’s a stupid prejudice. It’s worth remembering that Lou Vincent only ever actually got paid to cheat in England, the home of the game.

Lastly, us. We the people. Cairns and Fitch-Holland have been cleared. There is no evidence whatsoever that they did anything wrong. Yet my twitter feed this morning is full of surprise and even outrage at the verdict. What’s wrong with us that we think we can judge these two men from the comfort of our living rooms, basing our decisions on brief news reports and idle gossip?

Are we that shallow in our thinking that we can’t get past the great Kiwi desire to see a tall poppy fall?

Chris Cairns says his reputation has been “completely scorched” by the trial. That’s a shame and an indictment on the modern media’s capacity to frame an issue. Having been cleared, Cairns should be free to return to cricket as coach or commentator, but because of the apparently ironclad rule that there is no smoke without fire, that’s not going to happen.

Cairns wins, and he loses. And we’ve been played too, people. Readers, if you believe Chris Cairns is a match fixer as a result of this trial, have a good hard think about what that says about your critical faculties. Justice isn’t just something that happens in court, it’s got to happen in our heads and our hearts too.







111 comments on “Chris Cairns: Song of the Tall Poppy ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    It was a majority verdict. Clearly the evidence was sufficient to convince at least one of his peers.

    The rule of law means accepting the verdict. No-one is obliged to like it.

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      I agree.

      I don’t think Modi will liking or accepting this verdict.

      It is now highly likely, on the back of the evidence heard over the previous few months, that Cairns will be facing further legal challenges from Modi in the civil jurisdiction. This time under a lower evidentiary threshold.

  2. tracey 2

    There is evidence he did wrong. The evidence did not satisfy the jury beyond reasonable doubt and accordingly they entered a verdict of not guilty. Now, should it have been in a civil court, that prepponderance of evidence drops to balance of probabilities. And he now has the absolute right to be treated as being not guilty.

    I agree with you that no one knows the full story except those involved. And the next best knowledge is from those who sat through every minute of the trial. That certainly wasn’t me.

    Perjury is notoriously hard to prove and match fixing by definition involves people breaking the rules and hiding their tracks

    However I prefer the stuff.co.nz summary to yours.


    • northshoredoc 2.1

      It will be interesting to see if Daryl Tuffey ever makes a full and frank statement, he’s the one that’s taken the most prudent approach by just keeping his head down the entire time.

  3. mpledger 3

    Looking from afar the evidence seemed **really** weak. Lou Vincent should have been in prison for what he’s admitted to but he managed to wrangle himself out of that so his evidence is dodgy. Hi ex-wife’s evidence is pertinent but her saying that Cairns said IIRC “don’t worry Lou won’t get caught and the ICL has no control in this tournament anyway” – but that’s what anyone would say, innocent or guilty, to placate a wife worried about her husband’s illegal actions. And McCullum’s statements could have just been two people talking about illegal activity by people observing it rather than participating in it, mis-remembered over time.

    Noone said money changed hands except for Vittori and that was for jewellery. It all seemed to be chatter and gossip – nothing concrete.

  4. Ad 4

    The big test will be whether Mohdi goes at him in a civil trial where the level of proof required is much lower.

    • Grindlebottom 4.1

      Even though the level of proof in a civil trial (balance of probabilities) is lower it’ll probably still be a jury trial because it involves defamation.

      If 10 people in a jury of 12 concluded the evidence in this trial was insufficient to find Cairns guilty, I’d say his chances are 50/50 at least, maybe better, that a second jury will reach the same conclusion in a civil trial.

      The evidence of the principal witnesses wasn’t that reliable, it’s still all only disputable allegations unsupported by any other concrete evidence, such as sums for payments in Cairns’ bank accounts or recorded conversations which clearly confirmed the match fixing claims.

      • I agree. I would think Modi might just cut his losses and move on. He still has much more substantial legal issues to do with his businesses to deal with, and as you say, the odds aren’t that flash. There is also the issue of compelling witnesses to appear in a civil case. Vincent et al aren’t going to be keen to go through all this stuff a second time.

        • GregJ

          Yeah Modi is hardly a paragon of virtue. As Cricket no longer wants him around he should consider a run for FIFA – he’d fit right in to that cesspool.

      • Tracey 4.1.2


        Most jurors consider that having any doubt means the brd threshold was not met. Balance of probabilities is 50/50. Modi doesnt have to prove cairns match fixed. He would need to show on the balance of probs he could genuinely believe cairns had fixed a match.

        • crashcart

          Yea but in a civil case a jury all ready found on the balance of evidence that Cairn didn’t match fix and that Modi defamed him. The only thing that has changed is that a trial that accused Cairns of Lying in the first case found there was not enough evidence to say he did lie.

          • Ross

            Yes but Modi really didn’t put up much of a defence. I suspect he didn’t care if he won or lost, as long as Cairns denied match fixing which he did.

          • tracey

            I get that he ought to struggle to admit new evidence and re-open an already completed trial – unless he is going to claim Cairns lied BUT it was MOdi’s job, as it was the prosecutions, to prove Cairns match fixed, not for Cairns to prove he didnt.

        • Grindlebottom

          I thought you had a good point but now I’m not so sure you’re right Tracey. I think under English law Modi still has to prove on the BOP that the match fixing accusation he made is true. Both the justification defence and the fair comment defence fail him if they are based on misstatements of fact.


          But it remains to be seen whether Modi brings an action against Cairns and on what grounds. (Stuff.co article reckons he will.)

          Modi has a reputation as a hard-nosed businessman who does not back down so any action would be about revenge and saving face, as much as money.


          For all I know he could even perhaps take action against Cairns for defaming him and seek damages!

          • tracey

            I agree but as someone pointed out it will be a jury…

            It is possible that a civil jury could decide ALL the witnesses are liars, ergo on a 50/50 basis Cairns could be a match fixer…. not available to them on BRD?

  5. infused 5

    He is so guilty. Not enough evidence.

    • GregJ 5.1

      And you know how? Presumably you offered your evidence to the CPS in the UK?

    • maui 5.2

      I believe so to, you can’t have that many people saying you’re up to dodgy shit and be innocent.

      For a cricket legend such as Cairns you would expect half of cricket royalty to have his back during the allegations and now after the trial even more so if he was truly a good character. But that hasn’t happened and won’t happen I suspect.

      • crashcart 5.2.1

        Yea who needs that pesky evidence stuff, better to rely on other people acting in their own self interest.

        The moment match fixing is even mentioned in relation to a cricketer then anyone else close is going to drop them like a hot potato to protect their own reputation.

        Honestly this whole case was based on the idea that Cairns managed to get a bunch of 1st class cricketers to match fix for him without ever paying them. If you believe that with no other evidence then I have a bridge to sell you.

        • maui

          I forgot that when you hear and see things its not evidence. McCullum, Ponting, Vincent, Vettori, Bond, Harris just made things up to cover their own asses because they’re the ones really in trouble… They all had nothing to lose in nailing Cairns to the wall…

          • crashcart

            Just to be clear the only ones who provided direct evidence against Cairns were Vincent and his ex-Wife, and McCullum. All the rest were secondary evidence that in some way backed up one or multiple of those 3.

            Of those 3 only Vincent said he was involved in match fixing with Cairns and his credibility is very questionable.

            Of course if there had been evidence such as a money trail or actual recorded poor performance that matched statements it would have been submitted. As it was that did not happen.

            Is it possible Cairns match fixed? Yes.

            Did the evidence make that case beyond a reasonable doubt? A jury that sat through the whole trial say no.

  6. RedLogix 6


    Setting aside the accusations, the trial and all the cricket stuff about which I know nothing, and want to keep that way, I have to say that the wider point of your OP is very well made and I agree with entirely.

    We’ve become far too judgmental as a society, and redemption a very hard word for too many people to say.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      “…he just needs to hire some good PR…”

      Or words to that effect – overheard this morning on whatever it is Paul Henry does on Tv.

      Clearly we’ve become something else too. As for redemption: if you’re innocent you don’t need it as much, and if you’re guilty the first step is…?

      • crashcart 6.1.1

        being found guilty?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Oh haha, I see what you did there.

          The first step towards redemption is…?

          • crashcart

            I wasn’t making a joke. You were trying to back headedly say that if he wasn’t guilty he wouldn’t need redemption. I get that you are trying to get someone to say that he needs to admit his guilt before he can be forgiven.

            That of course is bull shit. Admitting he is guilty would only lead to a civil suit he would lose that would completely destroy him. So even if he did do it admitting it would be the last thing he should do if he wants to rebuild his life. Ask Lou Vincent.

            Innocent people can be accused and cleared, and it can still be devastating to their reputation. How does Cairns rebuild his? No idea.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Meanwhile, on Earth, I responded to Redlogix comment about redemption and the sort of society we’ve become. My comment at the top of the thread is all I have to say about this particular case.

              • crashcart

                That doesn’t change your statement that if your not guilty you don’t need redemption so much. That is clearly not true, in space or here on earth.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Meanwhile, on Earth, I said “if you’re innocent, you don’t need it [redemption] so much”.

                  • crashcart

                    Which is still bullshit.

                    Ask any of the INNOCENT black men who went to jail for Rape or Murder in the states if they didn’t need redemption so much.

                    Try saving condescension for when you have an actual valid point.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      It depends on what you mean by redemption: at a personal level or in the eyes of society.

                      For society, perhaps it’s easier for a guilty person to be redeemed than an innocent one (to the extent that anyone is innocent) – so long as they “take their lumps”, whereas the innocent find that “mud sticks”.

                      I’m not sure* your analogy about Americans holds: it’s the racists who need redemption. The falsely accused deserve justice.

                      *so, before you put words in my mouth again, please note that I’m not entirely opposed to your take on it.

                    • crashcart

                      Can you clarify what words I put in your mouth?

                      I am not going to disagree with you about racists in America, I confess it was the easy analogy. However there are examples here in NZ which are just as compelling. Arthur Allan Thomas and many since have been found to be innocent. In some cases racism can carry the blame, in others simple laziness by police.

                      Redemption is a difficult word. I get that it carries an innate air of recovery from sin. I would not presume to guess at what sort of personal redemption the wrongly accused seek. However public redemption is usually impossible guilty or innocent. No matter how much evidence points to innocence there will always be large sections of the public who will look at a person and only see the first guilty verdict or even the first public accusation.

    • Anne 6.2

      We’ve become far too judgmental as a society, and redemption a very hard word for too many people to say.

      In today’s society it’s the easiest thing in the world to destroy the reputation of a person. Just spread around a few allegations in the right places and bingo… the target is a gone-burger. I can confirm from personal experience. There’s nothing many people like better than to believe the worst of an associate or someone they know. It makes them feel smugly superior.

      I doubt Chris Cairns is a paragon of virtue and may even be an a*****e at times, but did you notice how he held himself throughout that trial? Straight backed and head held high at all times. Imo, that’s the demeanour of someone who is not guilty of the crimes he is alleged to have committed.

      • Tracey 6.2.1

        I have seen too many sincere liars over the years to subscribe to the notion that all liars look or behave a particular way.

    • Cheers, Red, that’s exactly where I was going; too judgemental by half.

      And crashcart and OAB, it might well be that RedLogix was referring to Vincent when he mentioned redemption. But good discussion all the same.

  7. What’s wrong with us that we think we can judge these two men from the comfort of our living rooms, basing our decisions on brief news reports and idle gossip?

    My personal opinion doesn’t operate on an evidential standard of “proven beyond reasonable doubt.” That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me, it just means I’m not a court of law.

  8. Vaughan Little 8

    I’m reminded of voltaire’s complaint about twice being ruined at court – once when he lost, once when he won.

    I don’t know if an innocent verdict counts for all that much if your peers consider you guilty. and by peers I don’t mean us in the peanut gallery.

    • Aaron 8.1

      Was he proven innocent or was he merely proven not guilty based on the available evidence?

      • Tracey 8.1.1

        Our system is clear. A man or woman found not guilty has the right to be treated lime he is, well, not guilty

        For my part when i read the judges direction i thought cairns would be found not guilty.

  9. Vaughan Little 9

    plus, “song of the tall poppy”?!?! you’re arguing for a level headed response to open legal processes and then pouring enough sugar on to make a jumbo American sweat.

  10. Ross 10

    “some people don’t seem to want to accept he is not a match fixer.”

    Um, it’s a decision by a group of 12 laypeople. Sometimes juries (and judges for that matter) are wrong. To suggest that this particular jury is correct is taking a giant leap, unless of course you know for a fact that every witness who testified for the prosecution was wrong.

    “There is no evidence whatsoever that they did anything wrong.”

    Ah, there was actually in regards to Cairns.

    • Nope. No evidence was presented in either court case. If you have actual evidence, contact Mr Modi and I’m sure you’ll be rewarded handsomely. Or maybe you’re confusing allegations with evidence?

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        Or maybe you are confusing no evidence with the weight to be attached to types of evidence.

        • te reo putake

          Given that most of the ‘evidence’ was just hearsay and no independent corroboration was found for the conversations that the 3 direct witnesses claimed happen, I think it’s fair to say there was no evidence presented.

          All it was unsupported testimony from 3 witnesses, one of whom is an admitted cheat and liar and another who was drunk at the time. The third claimed to have had an uncomfortable conversation that did not actually involve a specific incident of match fixing. No emails, no phone recording, no photographs or videos, no overheard conversations.

          The burden of proof was on the prosecution and they failed to provide anything of substance. So, yeah, I’m not going to bother with pedantry. No evidence, hence Not Guilty.

          • Grindlebottom

            You’re both right sort of. In law, witness testimony constitutes evidence, along with other forms of evidence such as documents, video, phone recordings, and other exhibits.

            However, its accuracy, credibility, reliability & relevance etc all determine what weight a judge and/or jury must give to it. In this case TRP, as you note, the testimonial evidence was so inconclusive and insubstantial prosecution failed the burden of proof & there was reasonable doubt so not guilty.

            • te reo putake

              Cheers, Grindlebottom. I suspect you, Tracey and I (and probably a few readers) are familiar with the law of evidence, and testimony is definitely evidence in a legal sense. If that’s the point being made above, then, yes, that’s absolutely the case. But for the purposes of a blog post on a political site I think it’s a trivial distinction.

              The fact is there was no corroboration of the testimony in this trial and therefore, as evidence, it was inconsequential. And there was definitely no other evidence presented that showed guilt. In the libel case, there wasn’t even the allegations from Vincent et al. It’s no wonder Cairns won that one and as I predicted weeks ago, no wonder he won this one.

          • maui

            “hearsay” would be a cricketer going around saying did you hear Cairns fixes matches with nothing to back it up. But we’ve got multiple people saying they were approached by Cairns and other witnesses verifying those approaches were made. I don’t know how you can say this constitutes “no evidence”. If a jury dismissed all evidence in a trial apart from the accused admitting to the crime our justice system wouldn’t be working too well.

            • te reo putake

              I don’t think you’re getting it quite right, maui. Only three witnesses claimed direct knowledge, the rest offered various forms of “yes, the witness told me that Cairns said that”. The first three’s testimony has some weight, the rest, meh. Of the three that were making direct allegations against Cairns, one was a liar and a cheat who needed to get himself out the shit, one was drunk and one only said that he and Cairns had some puzzling chats and also changed his story about when and where that happened a couple of times and also didn’t report the exchanges at the time, despite knowing he was required to do so. So credibility issues for all three.

              The reason the case fell over was the lack of corroboration, either in word or in the form of other evidence such as phone taps, emails etc. The prosecution pretty much relied on ‘the vibe, your honour’. As indeed, do you.

              • McFlock

                Well, it wasn’t quite just “the vibe”, but it was an interesting test. My impression, and I’m no lawyer, was that when Cairns said he had never cheated, the prosecution felt that all if they demonstrated a pattern of allegations they might be able to demonstrate BRD that he had cheated at some time without having to prove that he had cheated at one specific time.

                As they said in Yes Minister, it seemed to be a brave policy. I wonder if it was their fall back position when their case about a specific instance fell through. Or maybe they just felt they had to take to court and let the jury assess the reliability of the witnesses, which is a fair call.

                Although I don’t think the hating on Cairns counts as “tall poppy syndrome”. Lots of weeds grow to an impressive height, too.

              • tracey

                Given there have been no transcripts of evidence given, no televised segments, I struggle at how you maintain such authority over what the jury thought, how they made their decision and what is and is not evidence.

                My background is litigation, the idea that the prosecution was permitted by the court to proceed past closing its case with “no evidence” which is your supposition, is, frankly, laughable. The defence would have applied for the case to be thrown out.

          • tracey

            It’s not fair to say it TRP because you are wrong. Iknow how much that can pain. nEven hearsay is “evidence”, it is just inadmissable. THAT is part of the difference I was pointing out to you. Being under the influence of alcohol impacts the weight given to evidence, it doesn’t magically make it “not evidence anymore”.

            Call it pedantry if it suits you but the law says you are wrong. This pesky thing called an Evidence Act might help you. Law is pedantry and you are relying in part relying on pedantry to make your reply to me.

            “No evidence, hence Not Guilty.” TRP

            NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE = NOT GUILTY Tracey, the Trial and the maybe the jury (cos I don’t knwo what they thought)

      • Ross 10.1.2

        You clearly have no idea what evidence means. McCullum’s testimony was evidence, direct evidence in fact.

        If there was zero evidence, clearly there would never have been a prosecution as there would have been no realistic chance of a conviction.

        I note that in many rape cases, the only evidence is from the rape victim. (There may be no DNA evidence as the victim may not come forward immediately.) What TRP seems to be saying is that in such cases, the rapist should be acquitted because there is no evidence of rape! That is very silly. Fortunately, rapists can be and are convicted on the basis of the victim’s testimony.

        • tracey

          This ^^^^^^^

          I am not sure if it is just the Cairns case where not guitly in TRP’s view, equates tot he jury deciding there was no evidence, or all case where a not guilty verdict is given.

          • Ross


            I think perjury cases are special cases because, as the judge said, more than one witness’s testimony was required to prove the charges. So, they aren’t easy to prosecute.

            I recall a case many years ago of an English footballer (Bruce Grobbelaar) charged with taking bribes re match fixing. A video was shown to the court of him actually agreeing to accept bribes. He was acquitted! Interestingly, he sued a UK newspaper for libel. He won but was eventually awarded £1. 🙂

            So, here was a criminal case where Grobbelaar was acquitted but there was sufficient evidence of his guilt that he could not claim damages. He should have, like Cairns, quit while he was ahead.

            “It would be an affront to justice if a man who accepts bribes to throw matches should obtain damages for the loss of reputation as a professional sportsman merely because he cannot be shown to have carried out his part of the bargain,” Lord Millett said.

            “By his own conduct Mr Grobbelaar has destroyed the value of his own reputation, and this is sufficient to disentitle him to any but nominal damages,” he added.



            • tracey

              Yeah I remember the Groebbelaar one. The 1 pound was a BIG slap.

              I understand @ difficulty with perjury. Cos otherwise every trial would have someone up for perjury (any one on the losing side).

          • te reo putake

            I know it’s early in the day, Tracey, but that makes no sense at all. This post is about a specific case that failed because of lack of conclusive evidence. Do you want to move on now?

            • tracey

              I am glad to see that you have changed from your previous view of there being “no” evidence.

              Do you want to be a bit more patronising? I am sure you can?

        • te reo putake

          “What TRP seems to be saying is that in such cases, the rapist should be acquitted because there is no evidence of rape!”

          Utter bullshit.

          As I’ve said repeatedly, the ‘evidence’ such as it was, was the testimony of three unreliable witnesses. There was no corroboration of what they claimed and nothing further provided to back up their claims. The case fell over exactly because of the lack of evidence.

          • tracey

            Actually all we “know” is that most of the jurors found that on the evidence presented they could not find beyond reasonale doubt that Cairns was guilt yof Perjury. At least one found that the evidence met that threshold, the rest believed it fell below.

            Now, below could be anywhere between 0 and about 85%

            IF Modi takes a civil action for perjury in the defamation hearing (I dont know if it is available in those terms in civil trials) and has the exact same jury and evidence, we can see what they think about the evidence on the BOP. For now all we kow is that nearly all of them felt the evidence lay somewhere between 0 and about 85% threshold

          • Ross

            “As I’ve said repeatedly, the ‘evidence’ such as it was, was the testimony of three unreliable witnesses.”

            Who gets to say they’re unreliable, and why do you automatically assume Cairns’ testimony is reliable?

            One of the witnesses was Vincent’s ex-wife. Now why would she support what her ex has to say, given she no longer has any relationship with him? Plenty of ex wives are just as likely to contradict their ex, as Bruce Grobbelaar’s ex-wife did. She believed him in the beginning but now believes he’s a match fixer.

            In many rape cases, there is a lack of substantiation too, because often there is only one witness, the victim. That doesn’t preclude a successful prosecution, though, as we know, convictions for rape are not high.

            • te reo putake

              “Who gets to say they’re unreliable, and why do you automatically assume Cairns’ testimony is reliable?”

              The jury gets to say. And so too does the judge. Read his advice to the jury.

              And I don’t automatically assume anything about Cairns. But his version has been tested in court twice now and he’s won both times.

              • Ross

                He hasn’t won both times at all.

                A win would be jurors saying he’s innocent. They haven’t said that. In fact we know that one or two thought he was guilty. It’s possible that other jurors thought he likely guilty. However, likely guilty doesn’t meet the high threshold of beyond reasonable doubt.

  11. I can’t fathom why people want to call those who do well at sport, business or any other pursuit – that doesn’t entail their character in relation to their dealings with other people – a ‘tall poppy’.

    A person’s achievements may excel but that does not mean that they, as a person, should in any way be considered a ‘tall poppy’. If I were ever to use that term to describe a person it would be on the basis of their decency in dealing with others.

    I’m happy to admire a performance but not necessarily the person who enacts that performance. The two are very distinct in my mind.

    Good performances (e.g., making a good deal of money in the financial industry) can arise out of the most unadmirable traits and I don’t see why I should be asked to praise such traits via some supposed obligation to praise the person as a ‘tall poppy’.

    I noticed in Morning Report that the NZC spokesperson was careful not to agree that Cairns was a New Zealand ‘hero’. That is, he was fine about calling Cairns a great cricketer but seemingly reluctant to agree that he was a great person.

    Given I have far less insight into Cairns’ character than the person being interviewed I have little cause to admire – or not admire – Cairns as a person.

    He certainly played very good cricket – but that’s as much as I know about him and it is not enough for me to call Cairns a ‘tall poppy’ as a person.

    By contrast, I’ve heard a lot that suggests to me that Jonah Lomu was truly someone to admire – as well as being an extraordinarily talented rugby player.

    • shorts 11.1

      for some reason “we” expect a higher level of morality and behaviour of our sportspeople – god knows why, they are usually just real good at games…

      Chris wasn’t a NZ hero, his father most certainly was (though arguable today as we have goldfish like memories)

      For some equally weird reason we expect our cricketers (sportspeople) to behave like old world gentlemen when they are not (by values) … and when they are shown to be human we reveal in their undoing…

      Lomu had his patchy time via the media… time heals, editors forgive/forget and death means everything is overlooked cause – nation mourns

      • Tracey 11.1.1

        Lance hit a few sixes. Notably in a thrashing at the mcg where he carted preium bowlers over the fences. But hero? Really???

        Let us not forget the devastating loss C Cairns suffered when his sister died. As you would expect, it changed him.

      • Puddleglum 11.1.2

        I don’t expect a greater level of morality and behaviour from sportspeople than from anyone else.

        What I object to is the conflation of ‘great performance’ with ‘great person’ (or, conversely, ‘bad performance’ – or ‘failure’ in life – with ‘bad person’).

        I don’t link the two (fame and talent, on the one hand, and someone who is admirable, on the other).

        As I said, I’m more than happy to praise a good performance – but feel no obligation to praise the person who did the performing.

        If you like, being an ‘admirable person’ is itself like a ‘good performance’ at being a person and it is one that is different from performing well at sport, business or some random leisure pursuit.

    • Tracey 11.2

      I agree.

      His nickname in the nz team was BA. Bad attitude. Ask Glenn Turner what a great team person Cairns was…

  12. Aaron 12

    For anyone wanting to get more of a feel for the characters involved thsi transcripts of a Skype call between Lou Vincent and Cairn’s original lawyer is quite useful.

    For my money, I think all we can say for sure is that the available evidence wasn’t enough to find Cairns guilty.

    Link added. TRP:


    • Tracey 12.1

      Audio would be better. And visual. Words on a page….

    • Aaron 12.2

      Thanks for tracking down that link TRP, I should maybe review my posts a little better 🙂

    • tracey 12.3

      “the available evidence wasn’t enough to find Cairns guilty.”


      And to understand how hard perjury and match fixing are to get BRD, see the stuff analysis I posted much closer tot he top.

  13. Craig Glen Eden 13

    What came out in the trial was the three so called witness didn’t witness anything. Two of those witnesses have very strong reasons to point the finger at Cairns to save themselves. The third witness also had had an argument with Cairns wife the night they all meet and went out drinking. So none of the witnesses actually had any proof just recall of different conversation that actually meant nothing. Those three should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Tracey 13.1

      Wow no documentary evidence to corroborate the witnesses in a match fixing trial? . We gotta get more bookkeepers working with the bookmakers.

      Who are the two with motive to lie? Vincent and ?

      I confess I only know what I read in the paper about the evidence.

      Beyond reasonable doubt is quite rightly a high threshold when liberty is at stake.

      • Craig Glen Eden 13.1.1

        You clearly you didn’t follow the case very closely Tracey. Not only no documentary evidence no evidence.
        Brendan McCullum changed his testimony three times and had failed to notify anyone of any knowledge or suspicions that he had regarding match fixing.

        By doing so he was in Breach of Crickets code of conduct. He therefore could be stood down as the NZ Captain and player. He had lots to lose and at the end of the day and everything to gain by looking like he was assisting the Authorities.

        Thank goodness its innocent until proven guilty aye, natural justice and all that stuff.

        • tracey

          “Not only no documentary evidence no evidence.”

          See my discussion with TRP on this very point.

          I was a Litigator for some years, I think I understand the difference between NO evidence, and evidence that didn’t carrenough weight.

          None of us could follow the trial closelt Craig, no transcripts, no televised testimony. We are all relying on a fraction of what was said and shown in 8 weeks. Unless you were there, in which case i would love to read a post on your observations, cos trials are fascinating for the human reactionsa nd stuff, by witnesses, lawyers and defendants.

          IF you read my comments above you wills ee I absolutely accept the verdict. I also accept the system which includes an Evidence Act.

          My general “vibe” (to borrow the word from TRP) is that very few cricketers covered themselves in glory, If *I* were a juror I would have been thinking none of them can be trusted (including Cairns) so I cant convict him.

          Remember how Cairns (through his lawyer) said that back in 2008 (or so) VIncent was flakey and unreliable (Or words to that effect) and yet Cairns wanted that flakey and unreliable witness to testify on his behalf in the Modi case?

  14. Richard Christie 14

    Hmm, not-guilty or otherwise, I wonder how many people would now put any faith in the honour of C Cairns.

    A distasteful business, all concerned, all round.

    • GregJ 14.1

      And that’s kind of the point. The mud will stick – which is why we need all the safeguards we can get when the enormous power of the state is used to bring a prosecution against someone in a court. I know we all are meant to believe the people are “innocent until proven guilty” but my experience as a member of a jury in about 8-9 trials (I’m one of the “lucky” ones who has been called 11 times in twenty years to carry out my civic duty!) is that most people seem to believe if you are charged and in court there is “no smoke without fire”.

  15. Treetop 15

    Is there a difference between match fixing and spot fixing?

    If there is could there be an appeal or a new trial?

    • Yep, treetop. The difference is that match fixing is about the result, spot fixing is about specific points of action in a match (ie A fixer betting that a bowler will bowl a wide in the fourth over, because he’s paid him to do exactly that). The latter is harder to police and often more profitable than trying to rig an entire match.

      And, no, this was a perjury trial, centring on Cairns’ claim that he never cheated. It wouldn’t matter what kind of cheating, it’s either true or it isn’t.

      • Craig Glen Eden 15.1.1

        Good post trp and good response to those who obviously didn’t follow the case that closely.

        • Ross

          Except it doesn’t seem like trp followed the case all that closely judging by their comments.

          • tracey

            this notion that any of us followed it closely is ridiculous. 8 weeks of statements and tesimony, selected report sin papers, no transcripts, no televised feeds. NONE OF US FOLLOWED IT CLOSELY Craig.

            I absolutely accept that he is found not guilty and needs to be treated as such in terms of future employment prospects. You do not seem prepared to entertain the notion that a bunch of cricketers (including Cairns) could be liars and self serving.

            I am interested that McCullum is escaping attention, not least because there the jury didn’t release a statement saying “we believe McCullum”.

            • Craig Glen Eden

              Some closer than others then Tracey.
              But hey generally I accept most of the points that you have made as valid and many things come down to opinion and even opinion on facts.

              I totally agree that probably the most compromised person in all of this is Brendon McCallum now. NZ cricket are now diving for cover it appears to me, lots of lets just move on type stuff.

      • Treetop 15.1.2

        I thought it was about not cheating at all, thanks for the confirmation.

        When it comes to spot fixing I think this would be so hard to detect in cricket compared to any other spot and yes it goes on.

        In the early 1980s I went to Trentham races for the Wellington cup, a jockey pulled the reins so hard near the finishing post; the sound from the crowd was so obvious, (looked like jack up).

  16. Once was Tim 16

    Perhaps there’s a lesson in this for all of us possums (or if you prefer = ‘there are learnings for us all going forward’)
    Just because someone comes across as an arrogant, self agrandising cnut – doesn’t mean they have mal-intent.
    It maybe that they’re simply a bit naive, or just a bit fik.

    Which is why I find it hard to explain the likes of Chris Finlayson and others.
    Dear Leader really needs NO explanation – he fits the very definition of a sociopath – and if not that, a psychopath – and the more you delve into the fukker, the more he’s deserved of pity rather than respect.

    Not sure how we explain a Police Commissioner though. I suspect just simple fikkniss would be the easiest explanation

    • GregJ 16.1

      Good point. I’ve actually played against both Lance & Chris (Lance after he retired from International Cricket – although he was still a bloody good bowler at about 40-42 and Chris when he was on his way up before making the NZ team) so I “knew” them very (very!) slightly. I would have to say from my very slight acquaintance that they probably weren’t “my sort of people” (cricket being about the only thing we probably had in common) but as you say just because you don’t like someone or their attitude doesn’t give you carte blanche to accuse them of something without evidence to back it up.

      I don’t think anyone has come out of this well (Cairns, his fellow cricketers, the ICC Enforcement Unit, the British CPS). While I think it is vital that our justice system is tough on perjury this case looked really weak and not well handled.

      • Craig Glen Eden 16.1.1

        So true GregJ.

      • tracey 16.1.2

        I agree with this summation. To be honest I think Cairns was charged as much by the Brits to make some kind of message about what they will tolerate and this feel into their laps before a local player.

        I didn’t play with Chris but I had experiences with him for a few years when he was 20 to 25-ish. Nice enough lad particularly before his sister died. If anything he took too much advie about his cricket from everyone. Constantly changing his batting technique according to who made the most recent suggestion. But he did change after his sister tragically died, as you would expect.

        There are others I know through my connections in Cricket who had close dealings with him once a set member of the Black Caps.

        Does any of that make him a cheat or match fixer? Of course not. But I know enough to have doubts.

        It appears our press do not ant to discuss it but for me, the person who comes out VERY badly from this should be McCullum, but he seems untouchable.

  17. Ross 17

    One more point. All jurors didn’t return not guilty verdicts. At least one or two jurors thought Cairns was guilty – how did they reach that decision if there was no evidence?

    Clearly, there was evidence of guilt and another jury might have voted the other way.

    • tracey 17.1

      Ross, that si my point too. There was evidence BUT the weight given to that evidence varied greatly. And clearly, at least one person felt the evidence presented reached BRD, but the majority did not.

      WOULD love to poll the jurors on the civil test threshold.!

      • te reo putake 17.1.1

        Nicely put, Tracey. If you put a dozen people in a room with a tomato, most can be made to understand that’s its actually a fruit, but one will stay firm in their belief that it’s a vegetable because they buy tomatoes in the vegetable aisle at the supermarket.

        One of the reasons majority verdicts are allowed is to take account of the tendency of some folk to be contrary no matter what facts are put in front of them. Or in this case, the lack of facts.

        • tracey

          Yeah just ignore the stats which show that by far the biggest number of verdicts are unanimous.

          I totally get that anyone who doesn’t agree with your views are regarded by you as people unable to understand a tomato is a fruit.

          Your pseudo understanding of the legal system is mind boggling.

          I’ll leave you to the comfort of fighting for the safety of your view being the only right one all things TRP

        • Ross

          And of course some juries get it wrong. Here’s a majority verdict which saw Sally Clark wrongly convicted of murdering her two kids. The effects of a wrongful conviction can be devastating.


  18. Adrian 18

    One thing missed in all this is that Cairns was so absolutely sure he had NEVER cheated at cricket that he took the second most powerful man in Indian cricket (and one of the most corrupt men in India )with huge pockets and an army of paid for lackeys, to court. Modi could not come up with a single cricketer with any evidence and Modi is a scary bastard. You do not do that if there is even a hint of self doubt.

  19. ZTesh 19

    If Cairns was so sure he had never cheated, then he wouldn’t have tried to get Fitch Holland to recruit Vincent and Tuffey to make false statements that Cairns was innocent, the most telling point is that those two players (one of whom has admitted to match fixing and the other whom it is alleged) were the only two players approached.

    This is the full transcript of the skype call in question;


    Read that and tell me there was no evidence against Cairns and that you don’t believe he was involved in match fixing.

    • I’ve read it, ZTesh. For a starter, it’s not Cairns’s skype call. He’s not responsible for what other people do or say. And the skype call was central to the prosecution of Fitch-Holland and he was also found not guilty, so it doesn’t actually prove a thing, apparently.

      • Ross 19.1.1

        You’re completely missing the point.

        Don’t you recall the prosecution saying that Vincent was a hopeless witness, a liar, a cheat, etc, etc? Yet, this is the same guy that Fitch Holland rang because he wanted Vincent to testify on behalf of Cairns at the defamation trial. Clearly, Fitch Holland – and, by extension, Cairns – thought Vincent would make a great witness.

        Remember that Vincent claimed he was offered a prostitute whom he admitted sleeping with. Why on earth would he admit to that if it wasn’t true? There is no benefit for him of making that up. That admission simply tarnished his reputation even further.

        • te reo putake

          Actually, Vincent lied about the prostitute too, Ross. He later admitted that he’d taken that particular bribe, too. I don’t think either of us could know whether Fitch-Holland thought he’d be a ‘great’ witness, but certainly, if he’s said Cairns was straight that would help. Again, we’re talking about Fitch-Holland, not Cairns.

          • Ross

            “He later admitted that he’d taken that particular bribe, too.”

            That’s my point – that’s why I asked why would he admit to that if it wasn’t true. You seem to accept he can and has told the truth.

      • ZTesh 19.1.2

        And I guess you believe that OJ Simpson is innocent as well.

        It’s pointless debating with people who see things in black and white, unless of course it doesn’t suit their personal narrative.

  20. tracey 20

    TRP wrote

    “Cairns and Fitch-Holland also had access to a taxpayer funded defence. Lets be clear, that would not happen here in NZ, because the Tories have kneecapped legal aid. They’ve limited who can get it and made it as unattractive as possible for good lawyers. Legal aid used to be a guarantee that working class Kiwis had a chance in court. Not now.”

    I agree the legal aid system has been mutilated and duty solicitors are young and inexperienced. However I cannot find a source to back the claim that someone facing a criminal charge with the kind of prison time that perjury can attract would not get legal aid. This is a big story if true.

    “Can I get criminal legal aid?

    Legal aid is government funding to pay for a lawyer for people who cannot afford one, and need one in the interests of justice. Legal aid may be available for people who are charged with criminal offences and cannot afford their own lawyer.
    Whether you can get legal aid will mainly depend on your income and assets and the charges you’re facing or the type of case you’re involved in.

    In general, legal aid may be granted if:

    you can’t afford your own lawyer and
    either you’re charged with a criminal offence and could face a prison term of six months or more or the interests of justice require that you be granted legal aid.
    The eligibility requirements are set out in the Legal Services Act 2011 (sections 6 and 8) and the Legal Services Regulations 2011.

    Your income and assets

    To determine whether you can afford a lawyer, Legal Aid Services will consider:

    how much you earn before tax
    the value of your assets, such as your property and vehicle
    how many financially dependent children you have.
    If you have a partner, their finances will also be taken into account.

    Types of charges and cases

    Legal aid may be available if you are charged with an offence that could be punished with a prison term of six months or more.

    Legal aid may also be available if you are appealing your conviction or sentence for one of these offences.

    Legal aid is less likely to be available for minor charges as the duty solicitor can assist you in these matters.

    However, legal aid may be available for these cases if you face a special barrier of disability, such as difficulties with reading or writing, or mental illness.”

    Ministry of Justice

    IF this information from MOJ is patently wrong, then there is a far bigger story to be written. I do note th eliberals prinkling of the word “may” in their description.

    • Thanks for the clarification, tracey. I may have over – egged that, but the point I was trying to make was that legal aid has been removed as an option for most working class Kiwis, which remains the case, except, as you show, where the cases are particularly serious.

      • tracey 20.1.1

        No probs, I am genuinely intereste din hearing stories from those who have not been able to get legal aid since this Government hastened its disintegration.

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