Former NZ Cricketer Wins Libel Damages

By iSportconnect | March 27, 2012

Retired New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns has been awarded £90,000 in damages after allegations of a defamatory comment on Twitter, in what is thought to be the first Twitter libel trial heard in England.

Cairns was outraged when an unsavoury ‘tweet’ was posted on the social networking site by Lalit Modi, the former chairman of the IPL, the Twenty20 franchise in India. The tweet accused Cairns of being involved in Match Fixing, which he has strenuously denied on many occasions.

Modi has so far refused to apologise for the allegation he made in a tweet.

Cairns’s lawyer said the comments had tainted the career of his client, who played for Nottinghamshire before a spell in India.

It is the first Twitter libel case in England. Last year a councillor in Caerphilly, Wales, was ordered to pay £3,000 and costs to a political rival for posting a libellous comment on Twitter.

Modi was also ordered to pay Mr Cairns’ £400,000 legal costs.

Cairns, who took more than 200 wickets and scored more than 3,000 runs in 62 Test matches, said Mr Modi’s tweet in January 2010 was an “unequivocal allegation”.

He was not at the High Court in London for the ruling by Mr Justice Bean. But later he made a statement, saying: “I feel great relief that I am (now) able to walk into any cricket ground in the world with my head held high.”

The judge, who sat without a jury, said Mr Modi had “singularly failed” to provide any reliable evidence Mr Cairns was involved in match-fixing.