Former New Zealand test cricketer Chris Cairns has succeeded in his “Twitter libel” claim against the former Chairman of the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi. In an judgment handed down today ( EWHC 756 (QB)), Mr Justice Bean comprehensively dismissed the defendant’s defence of justification.
The Judge concluded that
“Mr Modi has singularly failed to provide any reliable evidence that Mr Cairns was involved in match fixing or spot fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was” .
The Judge went on to award damages of £90,000 to Mr Cairns, despite the fact that the defamatory tweet had been published to only 65 followers in England and Wales. He indicated that his starting point was £75,000 but that, taking into account the attack on the claimant at the trial, the damages were to be increased by 20%.
An order for interim payment of costs of £400,000 was made. Permission to appeal on liability was refused but was granted on the issue of the quantum of damages.
We will have a full report on the case in due course.