Ben Stokes: England cricketer pleads not guilty to affray charge


England cricketer Ben Stokes has pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray at Bristol Magistrates' Court.

The 26-year-old now faces a crown court trial over his alleged involvement in an altercation outside a Bristol nightclub on September 25 last year.

Stokes missed England's dismal Ashes series in Australia after being suspended by England while Bristol police investigated the incident.

The Durham all-rounder has been charged alongside two others — Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, — with using or threatening unlawful violence towards another. The charge, to which both Hale and Ali also pleaded not guilty, states that their "conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety".

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It is alleged a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident that took place in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol just hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.

The three defendants elected to be tried by a jury at the crown court. The first hearing at Bristol Crown Court is scheduled for 12 March although Stokes is not required to be present.

He will fly to New Zealand tomorrow to train with England's Twenty20 team, although he is not being considered for selection in the International T20 Tri-Series in which the two nations play each other on Sunday.

“Any decision to include him in upcoming matches will be made by Head Coach Trevor Bayliss and the England management team," said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

"He is not currently being considered for the ongoing International T20 Tri-Series.

“ECB fully respects his right to defend himself in court and any obligations he has within the legal process will always take precedence over England commitments."

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