Published: Tue, August 14, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Jury retires to consider verdict in Ben Stokes' assault trial

Jury retires to consider verdict in Ben Stokes' assault trial

Ben Stokes has been added to the England squad for the third Test against India, starting August 18 in Nottingham, after the all-rounder was found not guilty of affray on Tuesday.

Stokes was accused of knocking two men unconscious during a street brawl in Bristol in September 2017 but the jurors found that the English cricketer was acting in self-defense.

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.

Within hours of the verdict, the England Cricket Board (ECB) said Stokes would be included in their squad to play India in the third Test.

On Tuesday, Stokes and Ryan Ali were found not guilty of affray.

Ali then delivered a glancing blow to the shoulder of Kai Barry, a gay man who was out with friend William O'Connor in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol in the early hours of September 25 previous year.

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Hales, who was interviewed under caution but never arrested in relation to the incident, was seen on the CCTV stamping and kicking Ali in the head as he lay on the floor.

The criminal case led to Stokes missing some of England's biggest matches, including the Ashes tour of Australia and the second Test against India last week.

I have no problem with players celebrating victories but to not have the wherewithal or maturity to get out of that situation shows there is still a lot of work to be done with Ben as a person.

The court decision on Stokes is expected this week and the European Central Bank said it would assess his availability once the trial is over.

"I just didn't want any trouble so I was backing away, trying to retreat".

Ali, who is an emergency services worker, had drunk six or seven Jack Daniels and Cokes during his night out with former soldier Hale. He then offered his hand to Ali, who shook it. He did not deny punching two men (Ali and Ryan Hale, who was acquitted earlier in proceedings due to a lack of evidence), but insisted he did so as he feared for his safety and the safety of others.

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