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Cricket: Cairns return not so easy

Chris Cairns is all smiles after being found not guilty of perjury at last year's trial. Photo / Chros Gorman
Chris Cairns is all smiles after being found not guilty of perjury at last year's trial. Photo / Chros Gorman

Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns' return to the workforce could be fraught with more problems than first thought.

After the not guilty verdict from his perjury trial at London's Southwark Crown Court, and the decision by former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi not to contest a civil claim in relation to his unsuccessful 2012 libel trial, Cairns should, in theory, be free to rejoin the workforce.

Read more:

Chris Cairns cleared of perjury: 'I've been through hell'
Three reasons Chris Cairns was found not guilty

However, Auckland barrister Todd Simmonds says while Cairns' employment prospects face no legal impediment, his career nevertheless remains exposed to public opinion.

Simmonds, whose experience includes senior counsel to the New Zealand Defence Force, says the fact Cairns was acquitted of perjury and perverting the course of justice does not mean his circumstances can just click back to normal.

"From a legal perspective, there is nothing preventing him from securing employment, but it would be naive to assume that things will simply return to how they were prior to him being charged," Simmonds told the Herald on Sunday.

Ultimately, Simmonds said, Cairns' chances for a job could come down to an individual employers' interpretation of how the high-profile trial played out.

"Reputationally, I'm completely scorched," Cairns said on the steps of the London court after he was acquitted last year.

Simmonds said: "His comments after the trial about his reputation being scorched represent quite an insight. That's one of the big questions now: What is his reputation? What is his brand and what does he actually offer to a prospective employer?

"He may well find that his options are limited and, after a number of years of costly litigation, he will no doubt want to start earning an income without delay."

Sky Television director of corporate communications Kirsty Way told Newstalk ZB Cairns would be welcome to apply to rejoin the cricket commentary team if a job became available.

"Chris was doing some contracting work for us when this case broke [it was first reported in the New Zealand Herald in December 2013].

"Whether he came back or not would depend on whether there was a job available and whether Chris would want to apply for it."


Speaking at the New Zealand-India test in February 2014, Cairns raised the issue in a prepared statement: "The impact of this [investigation] on my career and the professional opportunities in front of me is very serious."

He pointed out he could not sign any further contracts until cleared.

"This is severely impacting my ability to provide for my family.

"My livelihood is directly linked to my reputation. While this dark cloud hangs over me, my ability to work and provide for my family is almost non-existent."

At the time, Cairns said Sky Television had been supportive as his employer.

"I've been on gardening leave since the Dunedin test [in December 2013] and can only thank them for helping through the period.

"I wasn't rostered for the next test but the paid leave enabling me first and foremost to be with my family has been appreciated."

Way claimed the decision for Cairns to go was solely his.

"Chris left Sky of his own volition. He wasn't asked to leave. He thought it would be best to leave his contracting job, so there isn't a long-term position we are debating here."

She wouldn't speculate on how viewers might react if he returned.

"If there was a role, we will select the best person for that job."

- Herald on Sunday

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