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Goldsmith Chambers barrister accused of perverting the course of justice in cricket Twitter libel case

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Andrew Fitch-Holland, who is alleged to have asked a witness to give false evidence, denies charge

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A leading criminal barrister has been accused of perverting the course of justice. Andrew Fitch-Holland allegedly made contact with a witness in an attempt to induce him into lying in court.

The story of Fitch-Holland’s alleged wrong-doing stems back to 2012 when the barrister’s friend, former international New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns, successfully secured damages of £90,000 in England’s first ever Twitter libel trial.

Fitch-Holland (pictured) was “lead advisor” to Cairns at the trial, which saw the Kiwi cricketer win £90,000 in damages from Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi over a tweet accusing him of match-fixing.

But in a dramatic twist the barrister now stands accused of leaning on a key witness after a prosecution was launched against Cairns for perjury at the original trial.

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The witness in question, Lou Vincent, is a former team mate of Cairns at Indian Cricket League (ICL) team the Chandigarh Lions. He admitted to match fixing last year and was banned from the game for life.

A recording of a Skype call between Vincent and Fitch-Holland was reportedly played in court this week. According to the Mail Online, the barrister can be heard suggesting to Vincent that he had been:

… one of 11 people on the field in those [ICL] games and from where you were standing everything seemed OK.

Vincent can apparently be heard responding, saying it was:

…a big ask for me to say in a legal document something that isn’t true.

In addition, The Guardian reports Fitch-Holland as saying on the call:

If you can literally get a one-paragraph statement that says ‘I played in the game, everything seemed OK’, end of … it makes it plain that things are a lot more straightforward than they look.

The prosecution claims that all of this was an attempt by the barrister — who specialises in white collar crime — to induce the witness into lying and help out his cricket superstar pal.

Fitch-Holland was originally a member of the now defunct Argent Chambers, before switching to Goldsmith Chambers after it gobbled up his old set back in May last year.

The experienced barrister — who also trumpets his expertise in sports law — explains how he has “developed a particular expertise and following within international cricket” on his chambers’ profile.

Alongside the perjury charge, which specifically concerns Cairns’ declaration under oath that he had never cheated at cricket, the cricketer faces the same perverting the course of justice charge as co-defendant Fitch-Holland. Both deny all charges against them. The trial, which started on Monday, continues.

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