Lawyer's arrest rocks cricketer Chris Cairns
AARON LAWTON AND SARAH HARVEY
Chris Cairns says he has been rocked by the overnight arrest of a lawyer who was a key witness in his London High Court defamation trial over allegations of match-fixing.
Cairns also confirmed to Fairfax Media the International Cricket Council (ICC) and police have been in contact with him for the first time since fresh allegations of match-fixing emerged in December.
The Telegraph today reported Andrew Fitch-Holland, a longtime close friend of the former Black Caps cricketer, had been arrested on Tuesday (UK time) on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
London's Metropolitan Police told the paper arrest was related to a civil case in the High Court.
Scotland Yard would not confirm details when contacted by Fairfax Media but said a 49-year-old man was being held on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
Cairns won a libel trial against Indian cricket powerbroker Lalit Modi in 2012 over claims of corruption in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL). Cairns was awarded $174,000 in damages and Modi was ordered to pay Cairns' legal bills of $774,000.
Fitch-Holland appeared in the court case and confirmed Cairns' version of events that he was sacked by the ICL Chandigarh Lions team not for match-fixing, but because he failed to disclose an injury.
Cairns said the pair last spoke last week "regarding other projects" and he became aware of his arrest only through news reports.
"I don't have the detail of Andrew's situation and it's inappropriate for me to comment on someone else's legal situation," Cairns said.
"What I would like to say, though, is that I hope people keep an open mind with regards to what this is about. There is a process to go through and that's an important fact to remember."
The Telegraph also said officers from Scotland Yard were understood to be in New Zealand conducting further inquiries.
Cairns confirmed ICC and police had contacted him and that he was willing to co-operate.
International media reports late last year named Cairns alongside fellow former Black Caps Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey as the subjects of an ICC investigation into allegations of match-fixing. Tuffey and Vincent have said they were co-operating with the ICC's anti-corruption unit.
Cairns said he had been in contact through "solicitors from both parties".
He was unsure when he would actually meet investigators.
"We are working through the requirements of that now," he said.
Cairns, who has long protested his innocence said despite the developments he was pleased he had finally been contacted by investigators.
"It's pretty complex. But what I would like to reiterate is that I'm actually glad that people are finally talking to me after four months. It was December 5 when this broke and they are now engaging.
"At least now we can hopefully get this matter resolved."
Cairns said he is still not aware of what details investigators were seeking.
"There's no detail yet. We know they want to engage but as of yet, we don't have either an agenda or detail as regards to what they want to talk about."
The former champion all-rounder remained in a combative mood and repeated his vow to clear his name.
"I've said this countless times and I'll say it again – I've got nothing to hide.
"We will go through whatever process that is required. We don't know what that process is because we don't have the facts about what's going on. We are still wanting to find that out but at least they are engaging.
"This entire process, it's the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing we think about at night.
"It's been extremely distressing for my family."
- Fairfax Media
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