Cricketer Stokes cleared of affray following brawl


England cricketer Ben Stokes was cleared of affray yesterday over a fight outside a nightclub last year which prosecutors said had left two men unconscious. (Stock photo)
England cricketer Ben Stokes was cleared of affray yesterday over a fight outside a nightclub last year which prosecutors said had left two men unconscious. (Stock photo)

England cricketer Ben Stokes was cleared of affray yesterday over a fight outside a nightclub last year which prosecutors said had left two men unconscious.

The England Cricket Board said Stokes would now join the England squad for the third test against India, which starts on Saturday, and would at some point face a disciplinary process.

Stokes (27) was accused of knocking out Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale in a brawl in Bristol, south-west England, hours after he had played in a one-day international against the West Indies in September.

Ali (28) was also found not guilty of affray. Hale was acquitted of the same charge part way through the trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Prosecutors said all-rounder Stokes, who helped England to victory in the first test against India this month but missed the second match because of the trial, had lost control after drinking heavily earlier in the night.

His lawyer Paul Lunt said in a statement after the verdict: “The past 11 months have served to highlight to Ben just how highly he values his position as an England representative. Now the trial is over, Ben is keen to get back to cricket being his focus.”

The cricketer, who was with fellow international Alex Hales, got into a fight with Ali and Hale outside a nightclub.

Stokes said he had acted in self-defence after stepping in to defend the gay couple who had been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse.

Irish Independent

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