Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Cricketer Ben Stokes mocked gay men before fight: court

PA    
   BEN STOKES CCTV of the England cricketer was shown to the court PA BEN STOKES CCTV of the England cricketer was shown to the court
Chelsea Rogers | 10 August, 2018, 12:27

The fast bowler, who is on trial for affray, alongside Ryan Hale, 27, and Ryan Ali, 28, is also accused of flicking a cigarette at gay clubbers William O'Connor and Kai Barry in a fit of rage, after they allegedly poked fun at his gold-encrusted trainers.

Detective Constable Daniel Adams, the officer in the case, told jurors: "Ryan Ali and Kai Barry appear to be having a disagreement".

Mr Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, was arrested in the early hours along with Mr Ali, of Bristol, and Mr Hale, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.

Police body-camera footage of his arrest showed Stokes asking an officer whether cameras had recorded the fight.

On the CCTV footage shown to the jury, Stokes and fellow England cricketer Alex Hales are seen catching up with the four and overtaking them and then, the prosecution claimed, Stokes can be seen turning to look back at Barry and Ali. "Mr Barry grabs Mr Ali around the groin area".

"I made a decision to intervene and asked Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale to stop abusing Kai and William".

Hale is then shown collapsing to the floor outside a shop window but picking himself up after 20 seconds and disappearing from view before returning.

Stokes starred on Saturday as England beat India in the first Test at Edgbaston.

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Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, told the jury: "Mr Cunningham observed Mr Stokes's behaviour towards them". Hale was also armed with a bottle before brandishing a metal pole.

"I decided at this point matters had become too serious to ignore and that I had to intervene to stop Ryan Ali", Stokes told police.

"It was homophobic in nature". I took exception and said "leave it out" and "you shouldn't be taking the piss because they're gay".

Shortly afterwards, he knocked out two men in a street brawl witnessed by the two gay men, jurors were told.

"One of the guys responded - he said "shut up or I'll bottle you" in an aggressive tone to me".

"I was anxious it might be two on to one and I knew one had had a bottle just before this", he said. "Obviously it all happened very quickly but I am clear that I felt under threat of immediate attack from both these men and I did what I did only in order to defend myself".

The trial continues Thursday (NZT Friday).

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