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Ex-New Zealand cricket all-rounder Chris Cairns cleared of perjury

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Media captionChris Cairns: "It's been hell for the last five or so years"

Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns has been cleared of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Mr Cairns, 45, was accused at Southwark Crown Court of falsely declaring under oath during a 2012 libel case that he had "never, ever cheated at cricket".

During that libel case he had successfully sued Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi for accusing him on Twitter of match-fixing.

Speaking outside court, the retired all-rounder said it had been "hell".

His former adviser, barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, 50, from Manchester, was also cleared of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Cairns is considered one of New Zealand's greatest ever all-rounders, having played 62 Tests for his country between 1989 and 2004.

He captained the national one-day side on a number of occasions, and also played for Nottinghamshire before a spell in India.

'Scorched'

In 2010, Mr Modi's tweet accused Mr Cairns of match-fixing while captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008.

Two years later, Mr Cairns won damages of $130,000 (£90,000) in England's first Twitter libel trial.

However, the prosecution at Southwark Crown Court claimed he had lied when he promised during the libel trial that he had never cheated.

He was also accused of perverting the course of justice by inducing fellow New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent to give a false witness statement in a Skype call.

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Image caption Brendon McCullum (left) and Chris Cairns were New Zealand team-mates from 2002-06

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Cairns, from Auckland, said: "It's not a victory as such because in a case like this, I really don't think there are any winners. It's been hell for everybody involved.

"I think reputationally I'm completely scorched, burned completely, but it hasn't stopped me and it won't stop me."

Asked if he would work in the sport again, he replied, "No, no, no", adding: "It's my choice. I think it would be quite a hard environment to go back into. There has been a lot of damage done and I think that's unfortunate."

Mr Vincent told the court Mr Cairns had approached him to suggest he deliberately play badly for Chandigarh Lions and said he had helped to fix matches under "direct orders" from Mr Cairns.

Brendon McCullum, the current New Zealand captain, also gave evidence against Mr Cairns, accusing him of twice asking him to fix matches - the first time in Kolkata, India, the second in Worcester.

Spot-fixing

Mr Cairns acknowledged both meetings had taken place, but said there was nothing sinister about them and Mr McCullum's version of events was wrong.

He told the jury there was "no truth" to allegations he had tried to persuade his team-mate Mr Vincent to join him in cheating, and was "shocked" that Mr McCullum could accuse him of trying to recruit him to fix results.

He said he had discussed "spot-fixing" - where a player corruptly influences a specific element of a match, such as the number of no-balls - with Mr McCullum and explained spread-betting to him because match-fixing was "topical" in India at the time.

But Mr Cairns said there was "minimal" time spent discussing match-fixing, and it was "completely wrong" to suggest spread-betting was equivalent to match-fixing.