After the trial, and his successful defence of Modi's appeal against the damages award, Cairns would presumably have considered himself free of all match-fixing suspicion. In recent days, however, it has emerged that his former teammate Lou Vincent has made very serious match-fixing allegations against Cairns, initially reported to be part of a plea bargain with the ICC, though it has since emerged that no plea bargain was made by Vincent.
Cairns has strongly denied the allegations, but to add greatly to his worries, it has just emerged that other statements to the ICC implicating him have been made by Vincent's ex-wife and by the New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum. The New Zealand Herald reports:
"New Zealand Cricket reacted angrily to the leak of McCullum's testimony.
New Zealand Cricket is dismayed that Brendon McCullum's testimony to the International Cricket Council has been leaked to the media," the board said in a statement. "We can confirm that Brendon is not under investigation by the ICC and his testimony has actually been applauded by them. NZC has 100% confidence in our captain and his role in tackling corruption."On the face of it, things look bleak for Cairns. Vincent might be viewed with a degree of suspicion (update: he has since been charged by the ECB, and has said there is no plea bargain). His ex-wife (who has not been implicated in anything) is another matter, however, and McCullum as well. McCullum, as New Zealand Cricket states, is entirely free from suspicion, and with a very good reputation in world cricket. On the strength of his word, it would seem that there is a case for Cairns to answer.
But that is the point - so far we have nothing more than allegations, to which Cairns will in all likelihood have to answer in some form or another. There has been no court case or disciplinary hearing. Cairns has not had any chance to see the allegations against him in full, nor to put forward a considered response. He is therefore innocent (not that he has even been charged with anything) until proven guilty. So far there has been nothing more than trial by media, thanks to the appalling leaks, which have necessarily been very damaging for Cairns.
Although we cannot know, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that the leaks were other than deliberate, with the express purpose of destroying Cairns without the bother of a trial or disciplinary hearing in an independent tribunal with all parties represented and with full disclosure beforehand.
If Cairns is innocent, he has been disgracefully traduced. If Cairns is guilty, he has been denied the due process that is the right of all in a free society under the Rule of Law. Either way, his chance of receiving a fair trial with the presumption of innocence has been reduced. One hopes the ICC will treat the leak as seriously as the match-fixing allegations themselves, for its credibility depends on it being seen to be impartial and competent. Moreover, other players will be reluctant to come forward with information if their confidentiality cannot be protected. Brendon McCullum's lawyer has already expressed anger that his client's statement was leaked. For those reasons, the fact of the leaks is just as damaging to justice as their content.
UPDATE (30 May): Here is a report of Cairns' statement to the media following his trip to London to meet ICC investigators.
UPDATE (September) It has been confirmed that Cairns will stand trial for perjury. This will enable a proper trial with witnesses and full disclosure. Cairns has stated that he will plead not guilty and that he emphatically denies the allegations. I shall continue to follow the proceedings and continue to post updates and comment on this blog.