Ben Stokes 'lost control' and knocked two men unconscious, prosecution argues in England star's affray case

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Ben Stokes' hearing got underway in Bristol on Monday.

England cricketer Ben Stokes “lost control” and knocked two men unconscious in an alleged fight outside a nightclub in Bristol after drinking, a court has heard.

The 27-year-old all-rounder is accused of punching Ryan Hale, 27, to the ground and then “after a time to pause for thought” allegedly knocked out Ryan Ali, 28.

Stokes, Hale and Ali are jointly accused of affray – a charge they all deny – and are on trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis said an altercation took place in the Clifton Triangle area of the city on September 25 2017 shortly after 2am after the three defendants had all left the Mbargo nightclub.

He told the jury of six men and six women: “In the early hours of the morning of Monday September 25 2017, a fight took place between these three defendants in central Bristol in the area known as the Clifton Triangle.

“They were, the Crown say, all involved in threatening and/or using unlawful violence towards each other. Some participated to a greater extent than others as you will see.”

Mr Corsellis told the court that all the defendants had been drinking that night and had been at the Mbargo nightclub, with the alleged incident taking place after the club closed after 2am.

“How precisely it started is only known by the defendants. The violence that erupted could actually have stopped very quickly and it would have remained a relatively minor incident,” Mr Corsellis said.

“But during the incident Mr Stokes lost his control and started to attack with revenge, retaliation or punishment in mind. Well beyond acting in self defence or defence of another.

“He knocked Mr Hale unconscious and then – after time to pause for thought, to calm – he did exactly the same to Mr Ali.

“Mr Ali received significant injuries, including a fractured eye socket, and required hospital treatment.”

Mr Corsellis added: “This was not a trivial moment of unpleasantness. It was a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place.

“A bottle was used at the beginning by Mr Ali and a broken street sign brought into the fray towards the end by Mr Hale.

“It is with regret that these defendants are before you, for they are all young men of promise.

“The defendant, Ben Stokes, is a professional cricket player who has reached the top of his profession and represented his country.

“Equally, Mr Ali has worked for the emergency services and Mr Hale has served his country in the armed forces.

“It almost goes without saying, but past success, fame or good deeds does not absolve you from your duty – and the law – to behave yourself. The law and court favour no person and all are to be judged equally.”

Wearing a blue suit and red tie, Stokes was driven to the city’s Crown Court in a silver people carrier and walked straight into the building flanked by the media.

Trial judge Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, had asked 16 potential jurors whether they were “extremely committed” cricket fans following either the England or India teams.

The potential panel were also asked whether they knew any of the three defendants and a number of other people who could be called to give evidence in the trial.

This includes Stokes’s teammate Alex Hales, William O’Connor and Kai Barry, nightclub doorman Andrew Cunningham, Clifton Triangle residents Maximilian Wilson, Lauren Sweeney and Jess Thomas, and police officers.

Stokes missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England.

Without him, England lost the series against Australia 4-0.

He has since played in the Test series against New Zealand, Pakistan and last week starred as England beat India at Edgbaston.

Stokes, of Stockton Road, Castle Eden, Durham; Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol; and Hale, of Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, are on bail.

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Ben Stokes' key moments from England's first Test victory against India

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Ben Stokes was sensational with the ball in the first Test

As far as performances are concerned, Ben Stokes’ display on Saturday with the ball has to be right up there among his best.

It brought back memories of another all-rounder at his prime – Andrew Flintoff during the 2005 Ashes at Edgbaston.

The Indian batsmen including in-form Virat Kohli simply had no answer to his swinging attack as he showed once again why he is one of the prized all-rounders in all formats by taking three wickets to wrap up the 31-run victory on Saturday.

Here, we look at his key moments from the first Test at Edgbaston.

ENGLAND’S FIRST INNINGS

The hosts looked in fine touch until Joe Root’s run-out that sparked a batting collapse. At a time when England needed someone to stand up, a lapse of concentration and big a schoolboy error saw Stokes bat the ball straight back into Ravichandran Ashwin’s hands. His face once he was out told the whole story of that dismissal.

INDIA’S FIRST INNINGS

The 27-year-old had to bide his time to get his first wicket of the match. Not that he was under any pressure to do so considering 20-year-old left-arm seamer Sam Curran had already put the hosts in a dominant position, having dismissed India’s top-three batsman.

But the signs were already there that wickets were always coming. He bowled a sensational in-swinger that left Ajinkya Rahane utterly deceived, who should have been sent to the pavilion had Joe Root reviewed.

That was just the start of things to come as Stokes started to create havoc for Rahane. The Indian was clearly uncomfortable facing the left-armer but although he managed to hit Stokes for a four, the all-rounder had the final say when his shorter delivery went straight to Keaton Jennings in the slips.

While Dinesh Karthik became his 100th Test victim when he rattled the stumps, in all honesty, it should have been a lot more. Alastair Cook dropped Hardik Pandya at slips while Kohli, who also survived a similar spell, was fortunate to survive after Dawid Malan failed to hang on to a simple catch.

INDIA’S SECOND INNINGS

Prior to Saturday, Stokes had already dismissed KL Rahul but he saved his best until last in a sensational spell at Edgbaston. The equation was simple for England – claim five wickets and they win the first Test.

The only issue was that Kohli was still at the crease and given the way he had been playing, England had their work cut out. James Anderson and Stuart Broad both struggled in their attempts to dismiss him but Stokes showed how to do it by trapping Kohli lbw with a full ball.

Mohammed Shami didn’t last long in his three deliveries to become Stokes’ second victim of the day. And with England inching closer to victory, it was ironic that Stokes finished things off when he produced the goods again to see off Pandya for India’s final wicket.

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Ben Stokes impresses with the bat and ball in Durham Jets' T20 win

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Ben Stokes put on a clinic with bat and ball to guide Durham Jets to a dominant seven-wicket victory over Worcestershire Rapids in their Vitality Blast clash at Chester-le-Street.

The England all-rounder was imperious with the ball, claiming career-best Twenty20 figures of four for 16 from his four overs as Worcestershire were dismissed for 121.

He then scored 43 off 24 deliveries with the bat, while fellow opener Graham Clark made 55 as the home side eased to victory with 32 balls to spare.

Durham have won their last three matches and are well in contention to reach the knockout phase of the competition, while the Rapids suffered a second successive defeat.

The Jets won the toss and elected to bowl, with Stokes coming into the line-up for Paul Collingwood.

Worcestershire had England’s Moeen Ali back in their ranks and he hit the second ball of the innings to the boundary over point, but James Weighell responded to dismiss him in the next ball.

New Zealand international Martin Guptill struggled to get the ball off the square and fell victim to a Stokes’ delivery that kept low.

Travis Head’s form at the crease allowed his side to post 40 from their opening six overs, but Nathan Rimmington turned the momentum in favour of Durham by removing Daryl Mitchell.

Head continued his knock, although his strike rate did not get away from the home side.


But the Australian fell for 40 as he was undone by a straight delivery from South Africa spinner Imran Tahir, which sparked a collapse.

Stokes returned to the attack to have both Ross Whiteley and Ben Cox caught on the boundary, while Tahir notched his second strike of the innings as Ed Barnard was caught behind.

Luke Wood continued the procession of wickets, drilling Weighell straight to Liam Trevaskis in the deep.

Stokes claimed his fourth scalp by bowling Dillon Pennington, while a fine piece of fielding from Rimmington ran out Patrick Brown to end the innings with four balls unused.

Clark and Stokes got their side off to a flying start in their chase.

Both openers were able to find the boundary with regularity, putting the home side comfortably ahead of the required rate, and they reached their half-century partnership at the end of the fifth over.

Stokes dispatched Moeen over long-on for a huge six to reach 43, but his England team-mate had a semblance of revenge as Guptill took a catch on the fence from the following delivery, ending the opening partnership at 77.

Clark continued Durham’s progress, reaching his 50 off 35 balls.
The opener fell before the Jets could close out the victory, with Trevaskis eventually hitting the winning runs.

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