Stokes' England teammate next in crosshairs in affray case

14 August, 2018, 18:58 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Nasser Hussain

England cricketer Ben Stokes was found not guilty of affray over a fight outside a nightclub which prosecutors said had left two men unconscious.

It was confirmed later on Tuesday that Stokes will rejoin the squad for the third Test, which gets under way at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

The jury heard that Stokes had been in the nightclub earlier in the evening and had tried to return after it had stopped allowing entry, offering the doorman a bribe, but had been refused entry.

Ben Stokes has been found not guilty of affray.

Stokes' defence barrister Gordon Coles QC told the court on Monday it was Mr Hales who may have been responsible for injuries caused to Ali.

He said CCTV footage from just before the fight showed he was "not behaving in a drunk way".

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He told the court he was defending gay couple Kai Barry and William O'Connor from a potential homophobic attack, but the prosecution claimed that Stokes was "making fun" of their "camp behaviour" and flicked his cigarette butt at them.

Ali recalled walking along the street with Hale, Barry and O'Connor, "having a laugh and some banter and the next thing I remember is having a tall blond man charging towards me".

The trial at the Bristol Crown Court began on August 6, and saw Stokes being accused of lying to the jury and admitting to have consumed alcohol on the night out which happened to be in the middle of England's home series against Windies. "I can hear myself saying "Move away", he said.

And when he intervened, telling the pair: "You shouldn't be taking the piss because they are gay", Stokes said Ali replied: "Shut the **** up or I'll bottle you".

Stokes and Ali tussled and fell to the floor and when the sportsman got back to his feet Mr Hale was stood in front of him. England did not miss Stokes much as his replacement Chris Woakes starred with both bat and ball.

Judge Blair told jurors they must consider the defendants' good character describing Mr Stokes as a "man of national reputation" and Ryan Ali as working for the emergency services.

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