A British judge has declared himself “not impressed” after former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns failed to show up for a London court hearing in his perjury trial.
Cairns has pleaded not guilty to a perjury charge stemming from a 2012 libel trial in Britain over alleged match-fixing, and is set for trial in October.
He was due to appear at a pre-trial hearing at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, along with his co-defendant, Andrew Fitch-Holland, who was his barrister in the defamation case.
But Cairns’ lawyer, Simon Ray, told the court it had “escaped everybody’s attention” that Cairns had been required to attend and his client was in Australia.
“He means no discourtesy by his absence, and he’s fully engaged with the process and will be here for trial, of course.”
Justice Nigel Sweeney wasn’t pleased with the situation, telling the lawyers he was “not impressed”.
“More so because I refused Mr Fitch-Holland’s application not to be here this morning … his co-defendant is not here when he should be,” he told the lawyers.
“But we are where we are. It’s not going to result in dire consequences, but it’s not good.”
Cairns won STG90,000 in damages in 2012 when he sued Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi over a tweet that accused the New Zealander of match-fixing.
But the crown alleges Cairns made a statement during that trial that he knew to be false when he declared he’d “never, ever cheated at cricket”.
A four-week trial is scheduled to begin on October 5 after being delayed to allow testimony from key witnesses who are available only during down time in the international cricket calendar.
Former New Zealand cricketers Shane Bond and Andre Adams are among those slated to testify, with lawyers on Wednesday confirming they would appear via video link from the United States and New Zealand respectively.
Current Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum could also be among the witnesses called, after previously saying he would testify against Cairns.
Fitch-Holland is accused of asking disgraced New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent to provide a false witness statement in connection with the libel action between Cairns and Modi.