Chris Cairns

Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns took libel action against the former chairman of the IPL over allegations of match fixing made in a tweet in 2010

Credit: David Davies/PA Wire
The high court has ordered £90,000 in damages to be paid to former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns, who took libel action against the former chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) over allegations of match fixing made in a tweet in 2010 and related comment made to a cricket website.

In today's judgment, Mr Justice Bean concluded that "Mr [Lalit] Modi has singularly failed to provide any reliable evidence that Mr Cairns was involved in match fixing or spot fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was".

He added that: "Even if I were applying a simple balance of probabilities test, the plea of justification would fail in both respects. The claimant is accordingly entitled to damages."

Outlining the damages the judge says his "starting point" would be £75,000, but that added "aggravation" takes the total sum to £90,000.

"The claimant is also entitled to an injunction, and I invite counsel to submit a draft in appropriate terms," he said.

The defamation action was taken by Cairns in reference to the tweet and comment given to Cricinfo, a cricket website, which was said to have carried the article "in which the allegation was repeated" for a "period of hours".

"The expert's figures for numbers of readers of this publication are respectively 450 and 1,500. I shall proceed on the basis that about 1,000 people read the second publication, which I have found carried the less grave but nonetheless serious meaning that there were strong grounds for suspecting that the claimant had been involved in match fixing."

The judge said that Cricinfo has already settled with the claimant and paid £7,000 damages and additional costs.

The judge also said a description of the case by the defendant's legal representative Ronald Thwaites QC as "an example of libel tourism", was a "misguided" criticism.

"The case is properly before the court in England."

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