Andrew Fitch-Holland was accused of asking a witness to give false evidence
A leading criminal barrister has been found not guilty of perverting the course of justice, after he was accused of attempting to induce a witness into lying in court.
Andrew Fitch-Holland (pictured below) — of London’s Goldsmith Chambers — was cleared of any wrongdoing after a nine-week trial that concluded at Southwark Crown Court yesterday. Such was his relief that Fitch-Holland broke down in tears as the verdict was read out.
The saga stems back to 2012, when the barrister’s close friend, the former international New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns, successfully secured damages of £90,000 as part of a £1.4 million settlement in England’s first ever Twitter libel trial.
Cairns decided to take legal action against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi after he posted a tweet accusing him of match-fixing.
But despite the initial success of the action, celebrations were short-lived when Fitch-Holland and Cairns were accused of foul play.
While Cairns was charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice at the original trial, Fitch-Holland — who had been the cricket star’s “lead advisor” throughout the trial — also stood accused of perverting the course of justice.
— Tova O'Brien (@TovaOBrien) November 27, 2015
The white-collar crime specialist, who was called to the bar in 1990, was accused of contacting former international cricketer and key witness at the original Twitter libel trial, Lou Vincent.
At the trial that began on the 5 October, a recording of a Skype call between Vincent and Fitch-Holland was used by the prosecution as evidence of the barrister’s alleged wrongdoing. Fitch-Holland can apparently be heard telling Vincent he was:
… one of 11 people on the field in those [ICL] games and from where you were standing everything seemed OK.
Vincent — who admitted to match-fixing and was banned from the game for life in 2014 — can apparently be heard responding, saying it was:
…a big ask for me to say in a legal document something that isn’t true.
Fitch-Holland — who made the switch to Goldsmith after the collapse of Argent Chambers in 2014 — trumpets his passion for leather on willow on his chambers’ profile. The experienced barrister says he has “developed a particular expertise and following within international cricket”
Unconvinced that Fitch-Holland’s actions amounted to perverting the course of justice, the jury took 10 hours and 17 minutes to return a verdict of not guilty. Clearly emotional, Fitch-Holland was brought to tears as his ordeal came to an end.
Fitch Holland in tears, Cairns patting him on the back looking emotional too
— Nick Hoult (@NHoultCricket) November 30, 2015
Fitch-Holland’s co-accused, Cairns, was also cleared of any wrongdoing.
Goldsmith Chambers barrister accused of perverting the course of justice in cricket Twitter libel case [Legal Cheek]