Stokes Claimed he Punched Man For Abusing Gay Couple, Court Hears

Grant SmithAug 10, 2018

Ben Stokes was "the main aggressor" in an alleged fight with two men outside a nightclub, both of whom brandished bottles, Bristol Crown Court heard on Wednesday (August 8).

The 27-year-old all-rounder and two other men, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, all deny the charge and are on bail.

The prosecution said Stokes told police he intervened with Ali and Hale because he overheard "nasty homophobic language", then told police he acted in self-defence when he thought he was about to be hit with a bottle. Earlier Det Con Daniel Adams, who led investigations for Avon and Somerset Police, said Barry, who Stokes is alleged to have mocked for being flamboyant, "makes a grab on Ryan Ali around the groin area" before violence flared.

Footage from her body camera, played to the jury, showed she said to Stokes: "A guy over there was covered in blood and I've been told you punched him".

Cunningham said he did not step in until Stokes flicked a cigarette butt at the men.

The CCTV footage shows Mr Hales behind Mr Stokes and the cricketer approaching a retreating Mr Ali, jurors were told.

Bristol Crown Court heard he was "squaring up" to other men before he was cuffed.

"Ali responds by pushing Barry away, albeit with no significant force", he told the jury.

"In response one of the guys said 'Shut the f*** up and f**** off or I'll bottle you.' At the time he was holding a bottle in his right hand".

"At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened". He was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary by ambulance and diagnosed as having suffered a fracture to the medial orbital wall on the left side of his face. He had a laceration above his eyebrow, a cracked tooth and bruising to his head.

"I was anxious it might be two on to one and I knew one had had a bottle", Stokes told police. When asked simply to stop using the homophobic abuse he was giving to Kai and William.

"I did not known Ryan Hale or Ryan Ali, and I was forced to make a decision as to how far they would be prepared to go and what they might do if they got the upper hand".

"I knew they were prepared to use weapons and so had a reasonable belief they might be carrying more weapons, perhaps of a more serious type".

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