The jury in the Chris Cairns trial will later today gather to consider their verdicts for a second day.

The five men and seven women on the jury had a two-day break to attend appointments postponed because of the marathon eight-week trial.

The "worst case scenario" for the trial to conclude had been November 20, a date which included a two-week buffer for the jury to consider their verdicts.

They finally retired on Tuesday to start debating whether to acquit or convict Cairns and co-accused Andrew Fitch-Holland, but had only three hours together before being sent home.

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Andrew Fitch Holland. Photo / Chris Gorman
Andrew Fitch Holland. Photo / Chris Gorman

Tonight at 11pm (NZT) they will return to the Southwark Crown Court in London to continue their deliberations.

If they cannot reach a unanimous verdict by 5.30am tomorrow, the jury will go home for the weekend and come back on Monday.

Justice Nigel Sweeney has directed them to first consider the perjury charge against Cairns and said they must be sure of the evidence of at least two of the three key Crown witnesses - Brendon McCullum, Lou Vincent and Ellie Riley.

Lou Vincent. Photo / Chris Gorman
Lou Vincent. Photo / Chris Gorman

If they are not sure Cairns was involved in match-fixing, the jury must find Cairns not guilty and the case is over - they do not need to consider the second charge of perverting the course of justice.

But if they convict Cairns, the jury can then turn their attention to the perverting the course of justice charge laid against both men.

This charge arises from the Skype conversation where Fitch-Holland tried to persuade Vincent to give a statement to support Cairns' libel case against Lalit Modi.

Justice Nigel Sweeney. Photo / Supplied
Justice Nigel Sweeney. Photo / Supplied

In order to convict him, the jury must be sure Fitch-Holland knew Cairns and Vincent were involved in match-fixing and also that he asked Vincent to provide a false statement.

If Fitch-Holland is acquitted, Cairns will also be found not guilty. If found guilty, the jury can then consider whether Cairns and Fitch-Holland conspired together in a "joint enterprise" to obtain the statement.

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In his final words to the jury, Justice Sweeney said inevitably there would be vigorous debate but urged them to listen to differing views. "There is no pressure of time. It is by that route you can return true verdicts according to the evidence."

The beginner's guide to the Cairns trial

Over the past eight weeks, Southwark Crown Court has heard evidence from more than 30 witnesses in a trial which has spanned the cricket fields of India, New Zealand and England. Jared Savage explains the key points.

So what's this all about?

One of New Zealand's greatest cricketers, Chris Cairns, is accused of being involved in fixing games in the Indian Cricket League. One of the three key Crown witnesses is Brendon McCullum, formerly a close friend of Cairns and now captain of the New Zealand team. The others are Lou Vincent, another former Black Cap, and his ex-wife Ellie Riley. Cairn is facing charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice, both of which he steadfastly denies.

Who else has given evidence?

A number of Cairns' former New Zealand teammates including Dan Vettori, Shane Bond, Chris Harris, Andre Adams and Kyle Mills. The most famous is Ricky Ponting, the former Australian cricket captain.

What's the Indian Cricket League?

The ICL was a Twenty20 cricket tournament created by the largest television company in India in 2007 and 2008. It was described as a rebel league which means it was unsanctioned by the International Cricket Council or the Board of Cricket Control in India. Both pressured other governing bodies, such as New Zealand Cricket, to make players who signed for the ICL ineligible for playing international cricket or in domestic leagues.
For this reason, most international players who signed lucrative ICL contracts were at the end of the careers. The ICL collapsed at the end of 2008 amid allegations of corruption.

So if Cairns is accused of match-fixing, why is he charged with perjury?

One of the most powerful figures in world cricket, Lalit Modi, publicly accused Cairns of being a match-fixer in January 2010. Cairns sued Modi for defamation and won in March 2012. During the course of the libel trial in the High Court of London, Cairns said he "never ever cheated" at cricket or even contemplated it. According to the Crown prosecution, that statement is a lie under oath - or perjury.

What about the perverting the course of justice charge?

Before the libel trial in 2012, Cairns asked Vincent to sign a statement to support his libel case against Modi. Vincent was reluctant and Cairns' friend Andrew Fitch-Holland tried to persuade him during a conversation on Skype, which Vincent recorded. The Crown say Cairns and Fitch-Holland tried to convince Vincent to sign a false statement - because Vincent is a self-confessed match-fixer - or pervert the course of justice. Both deny any knowledge of match-fixing.

What happens next?

If convicted of perjury, Cairns will almost definitely go to jail. The charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. If acquitted, he will walk free and return home to his wife, Mel, and two children in Australia. Regardless of the verdict, the saga is likely to return to court. Lalit Modi has indicated he will seek to have the libel judgment overturned in a bid to recoup more than 1 million pounds paid in damages and legal fees. This is because the current criminal trial has heard different evidence from the libel trial three years ago.