Sledging lawyers put Cairns trial on hold

The Chris Cairns perjury trial has experienced two delays in the space of a week due to arguments and illness in the courtroom.

The trial of Chris Cairns was first marred by bickering between the Crown Prosecutor, Sasha Wass QC, and Cairns’ co-accused Andrew Fitch-Holland who is also a lawyer.
 
The trial was then delayed a second time with one of the jurors falling ill. This has caused the case to drag out even further after a previous adjournment where two lawyers – the Crown Prosecutor, Sasha Wass, and one of the accused, Andrew Fitch-Holland – were caught bickering during the trial.
 
The sick juror has meant that Andrew Fitch-Holland has to wait another day to give the final evidence.
 
The bickering occurred during cross-examination on 9 November. Wass opened by asking if Fitch-Holland had a “chequered” legal career.
 
“Is there some kind of implied moral criticism by the word chequered?” Fitch-Holland asked.
 
The heated exchange then continued, including a moment where Wass called Fitch-Holland a “cricket groupie” who saw Cairns as a means to change his career path. Fitch-Holland also sought to clarify or object to Wass’ questions on a number of occasions.
 
Justice Nigel Sweeney had to break up the simmering sledging match 10 minutes before lunch break.
 
“There will be no more tendentious arguments,” he ordered.
“Each choose their words carefully and don't nit-pick, which means proper questions and proper answers.”
 
The matter could not be resolved in a prompt manner however, and the jury was sent home two hours early.
 

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