NZ born England cricketer Ben Stokes tells court he joined fracas to protect duo who were being abused with homophobic slurs

England cricketer Ben Stokes has told a jury he joined a fracas after hearing two revellers shout homophobic abuse at two gay men in Bristol.

The allrounder, 27, is accused of knocking out two friends, Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali, during an alleged fight in Bristol on September 25.

Stokes, who plays for Durham, is standing trial at Bristol Crown Court jointly accused of affray alongside Ali.

Hale was found not guilty of the same charge by the jury on the direction of the judge.

The cricketer denied claims he mocked two gay men, Kai Barry and William O'Connor, outside the Mbargo nightclub and flicked a cigarette butt at them.

He insisted he had instead stepped in to protect Barry and O'Connor after hearing Hale and Ali, who had a glass beer bottle, shout homophobic abuse at them.

"Mr Hale and Mr Ali were shouting homophobic comments towards these two and in return Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry were going back to them," Stokes told the jury.

"They weren't obviously going to let them say what they were saying. I stepped in. [I said] 'You shouldn't take the piss because they are gay'.

"I was told by Mr Ali along the lines of 'Shut the f*** up or I will bottle you'.

The NZ-born all-rounder was accused of knocking two men unconscious in September last year. Source: Reuters

"As soon as I see Mr Ali swing the bottle at someone and physically hit them with it, that's when I took the decision that I needed to get involved.

The court heard Stokes was in Bristol at the time of the incident, having played a one-day international against the West Indies.

Under direction from his barrister, Gordon Cole QC, Stokes held up his hands and showed the jury injuries sustained from playing his sport.

The cricketer said he consumed about three or four pints of lager and five or six vodka and lemonades on the evening.

However, they were refused entry by door supervisor Andrew Cunningham as it was after 2am.

Stokes said the cricketers offered Cunningham around PS60 or PS70 ($104 or $120) to get them into the club, which was turned down.

"I said to him 'Come on mate, I've got shit tattoos as well, let us back in'," he told the court.

"I am constantly getting told by teammates and by who I play with that I have got shit tattoos."

He denied making a V-sign to Cunningham, calling him a c*** or mentioning his four gold front teeth.

The English all-rounder allegedly insulted, mocked and threw a cigarette at two gay men. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: Colin Munro blasts four straight boundaries in CPL opener as stellar innings leads side to victory

Colin Munro has gotten his Caribbean Premier League campaign off to the perfect start, earning man of the match honours after his stellar innings guided the Trinbago Knight Riders to a big win over the St Lucia Stars.

The Black Caps batsman fired off a top score of 68 from 48 deliveries in the CPL curtain-raiser at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago this afternoon with nine boundaries and a six helping him build his innings.

Fellow Kiwi Brendon McCullum wasn't as dangerous, earning 13 runs off 11 balls before Kieron Pollard bowled him.

Munro was finally dismissed by Pollard as well in the 15th over but not before the damage was done as the Knight Riders went on to post 195/6 in the first innings.

In reply, the Stars struggled immensely, eventually getting bowled out for 95 in 17.3 overs.

David Warner was one of many in the St Lucia line up who failed to crack double digits with the banned Australian opener posting just nine runs before he was bowled by Javon Searles.

The next Kiwis in action in the Caribbean tournament are Luke Ronchi and Anton Devcich who will play for the Amazon Warriors and Patriots respectively tomorrow afternoon.

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NZ-born English cricketer Ben Stokes the 'main aggressor' in nightclub brawl, witness tells court

England cricketer Ben Stokes was the "main aggressor" in an incident that took place near a nightclub, an onlooker told a court.

The 27-year-old New Zealand-born allrounder is accused of affray in Bristol during the early hours of September 25 last year.

He is alleged to have offered 300 pounds (NZ$572) to gain entry into nightclub Mbargo, which was refused, as it was past 2am.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: England Cricketer Ben Stokes leaves Bristol Crown Court on August 6, 2018 in Bristol, England. Ben Stokes, 27, Ryan Ali, 28 and Ryan Hale, 27, are jointly charged with affray outside a Bristol night club on September 25 last year.   (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
England Cricketer Ben Stokes leaves Bristol Crown Court. Source: Getty

Stokes is said to have mocked two gay men, Kai Barry and William O'Connor, outside the club before knocking out two other men they were with a short time later.

Bristol Crown Court heard evidence from off-duty police community support officer Andrew Spure, who was also at Mbargo on the night in question.

In a statement written hours after the alleged incident, he described how he was walking down a nearby street after leaving the nightclub.

"I saw a group of people fighting, there were three to five people involved in some form of scuffle," it read.

"I walked into the road to try to separate the group and get in between them.

"As I was on my own, when I separated two of them more people carried on behind me.

"While I was trying to stop the fighting, one of the males struck the other in the head with a clenched fist."

The court has heard it was Stokes who had struck Ryan Ali, knocking him to the floor.

Ali, 28, and his friend Ryan Hale, 27, are also standing trial accused of affray during the incident.

When asked about separating Stokes and Ali, Spure told the court: "The individual seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to another individual.

"In my statement I describe him as a gentleman with ginger or light brown hair. He had a green T-shirt on."

He said Ali "seemed to be trying to back away or get away from the situation" before he was punched by Stokes.

The court heard he identified Stokes to police officers, who then arrested the cricketer.

Jurors have been told that Stokes first hit Hale, knocking him to the ground, before rendering Ali unconscious in the punch seen by Spure.

Ali was taken to hospital by ambulance, with doctors noting that he had suffered a fracture to the medial orbital wall on the left side of his face.

His left eye was swollen and he had a laceration above his eyebrow, a cracked tooth and bruising to his head.

Hale cycled to hospital, where he was found to have bruising and a 4cm laceration consistent with blunt trauma.

Ali is alleged to have threatened Stokes' teammate Alex Hales with a bottle during the incident, while Hale broke off a metal pole from a nearby road sign after being allegedly knocked out by Stokes.

The English all-rounder allegedly insulted, mocked and threw a cigarette at two gay men. Source: 1 NEWS


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