England cricketer Ben Stokes pleads not guilty to affray

Carrie Guzman
March 12, 2018

In a plea and case management hearing today Stokes officially pleaded not guilty via a video link from New Zealand where he is now on tour.

The two other men charged - Ryan Hale, 28, and Ryan Ali, 26 - attended in person and also pleaded not guilty. The trio appeared at Bristol Magistrates' Court last month, where the clerk read out the charges and all three defendants indicated not guilty pleas.

Two other men also pleaded not guilty in Bristol in the early hours of September 25 after England played the West Indies in the city in southwest England.

Stokes had claimed to both the police and to the European Central Bank in their internal investigation that he was coming to the aid of two men who had been subjected to homophobic abuse prior to the incident.

The trial begins on August 6, three days before England's Test against India. The second Test against India starts on August 9. He was introduced to His Honour Judge Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, and replied by saying: "Hi, Judge".

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Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol, and Hale, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, will stand trial on August 6.

The court case relates to an alleged incident outside a nightclub in Bristol during the one-day series against West Indies last September.

As a result of the charge, Mr Stokes missed the Ashes series, which hosts Australia won 4-0, although he was allowed to play some domestic matches in New Zealand.

England now have a two-Test series against New Zealand, which starts on March 22.

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