The England Cricketer Ben Stokes has been found not guilty after being charged with affray after a fight outside a Bristol nightclub.
A six day trial at Bristol Crown Court has resulted in the conclusion of a non-guilty verdict for England cricketer Ben Stokes. Stokes denied the charge of affray after a fight broke out between a group of men last September. Paul Lunt, Stokes’ lawyer, said that the verdict was ‘the end of an 11 month ordeal’ for Stokes and that he was ‘keen to get back to cricket being his sole focus’.
Stokes and Hales now face ECB independent disciplinary committee, likely to face charges of bringing the game into disrepute. Might take a few days, up to a week to convene.— Jonathan Agnew (@Aggerscricket) August 14, 2018
The prosecution described the event as ‘a sustained episode of significant violence’ from a ‘drunk and enraged’ Mr Stokes, who had ‘lost control’ after being refused entry to Mbargo.
However, Mr Stokes told the jury he had ‘stepped in’ to defend two men from homophobic abuse. After the trial, the couple expressed their thanks to Stokes, who ‘put his career at risk for someone that he never knew’ and ‘didn’t deserve being put through a trial’.
There had previously been accusations of Stokes having mocked the two men, before flicking cigarette ash at them, but these appear to have been put to bed. The cricketer has claimed that his engagement with the couple was him joking over his £700 gold-trimmed white leather shoes.
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that Stokes would be playing for England in the third Test against India, starting on Saturday. However, there has been speculation over disciplinary action from the ECB, with Stokes likely to face charges of bringing Cricket into disrepute.
Ryan Ali, who was knocked unconscious during the fight, and Ryan Hale have also been acquitted of affray.
The charge of affray is used in circumstances where an individual uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and their conduct is such that the victim fears for personal safety.
Featured image: Ben Sutherland / Wikimedia Commons