Key Points:

    • Ben Stokes tells affray trial he found it difficult to remember what happened
    • Said he had Jaegerbombs, beers and vodka and lemonades in Bristol that night
    • Claimed he fought off 'attack with weapons' after coming to aid of two gay men
    • Stokes lashed out at Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale in act of self-defence, he told jury
    • Ali is also on trial but Hale was cleared by judge because of lack of evidence
    • Stokes' QC suggested his teammate Alex Hales may have injured man on trial

Ben Stokes 'bullied' a gay couple and then battered two men in a street fight as the 'red mist came down' during a drunken night out, a court heard today.

The cricketer, who missed England's win over India at Lord's, was the main 'aggressor' in the brawl where he shattered Ryan Ali's eye socket, a jury was told.

The court was shown CCTV of the fight in Bristol in September last year, including Stokes punching Ali and his friend Ryan Hale in the face.


Today, the jury was asked to consider all the CCTV footage very closely - including the role of Stokes's teammate Alex Hales, with whom he was on the night out.

Mr Stokes was also accused of lying about acting in self-defence and lashed out of 'revenge', it is alleged.

Prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis said: 'He has distanced from the admirable career he has. He acted deplorably as the red mist came down and struck with such force that he rendered one person unconscious'.

Stokes insists he acted in self-defence and was defending gay men Kai Barry and William O'Connor in the early hours of September 25 last year.

But Mr Corsellis said in fact he had 'bullied' them before mimicking them, adding: 'He was laughing at them, not with them'.

He said: 'There are aspects of Mr Stokes's case that he has zero recollection of. The cigarette butt, homophobic abuse, the attack on Mr Ali. He says he can't say or is it won't say because of what the truth is?'

Defending Stokes, Gordon Cole QC, said he was 'massively alarmed' by 'gaps' in the prosecution's case and said claims the cricketer was 'enraged' that night is 'complete nonsense'.

Mr Cole suggested there was evidence to support the view that Mr Hale returned to the scene with the metal pole and that seconds before Stokes knocked out Ali, Ali was about to jump on his back.

'We would say there is evidence to support that happening. Have they proved to you this man was not acting in self-defence?' Mr Coles said.

'When I heard those remarks I was alarmed and we invite you to use your common sense. You are entitled to think about what questions you are left to answer.

'The prosecution are saying they don't know and we saying they ought to.'

Judge Peter Blair QC, The Recorder of Bristol, told the jury that these closing speeches they would start considering their verdicts later today.

Stokes said last week he suffered a 'memory blackout' on the night he beat two men unconscious in a street brawl.

The England all-rounder told jurors he had drank two to three pints at his hotel, followed by five or six vodka-lemonades and 'potentially some Jaegerbombs' while clubbing in Bristol.

But he firmly rejected claims he was 'really very drunk' by the time he brawled with Ryan Hale, 27, and Ryan Ali, 28, in the early hours of September 25 last year.

Stokes, 27, claims he was defending himself from an 'attack with weapons' having confronted Hale and Ali over their 'nasty' homophobic language towards gay pair Kai Barry and William O'Connor.

Mr Corsellis, prosecuting, told the jury that the Crown conceded that at the point Ali had the bottle in his hand Stokes was acting 'to defend himself or in defence of another', but then 'quickly turned aggressor'.

'Even if Mr Stokes has begun using self-defence, he very, very quickly after this became the aggressor, with Mr Hale trying to pacify him together with Mr Ali,' he said.

'He was pursuing them into the road, repeatedly punching at them at least six times, with his teammate Alex Hales calling him away 'Stokes... Stokes... stop... stop...', indeed being pulled away twice and on the second time being turned on by Ben Stokes.

'Mr Ali used a bottle as a weapon ... Mr Stokes began in self-defence but then became an aggressor.

'If Mr Stokes was being tried alone, we submit that his behaviour would constitute an affray.'

Mr Corsellis told the jury: 'Mr Stokes's defence at this stage is 'I can't remember it but I must have been acting in self-defence'.

'There's a problem with that because it is not for him to prove self-defence but how do you analyse that?

'There's no evidence from him as to what threat he perceived. No evidence that he saw there was a metal bar.

'No evidence he was being verbally threatened by Mr Hale and Mr Ali. There's no foundation to say his self-defence kicked in.'

Anna Midgley, representing Ali, told the jury: 'Of course, watching himself brandishing a bottle makes him feel regret and embarrassment, let alone when the world is watching.

'But regret for how he behaved is a different question as to whether he has committed a criminal offence.'

She insisted that Ali, who works for the emergency services, acted in response to a threat when he brandished the beer bottle he was holding.

'He was drinking from it,' she told the jury.

England cricketer Ben Stokes centre, arrives at Bristol Crown Court. Photo / AP
England cricketer Ben Stokes centre, arrives at Bristol Crown Court. Photo / AP

'He didn't arm himself but there came a time when he used it because he was threatened.'

Miss Midgley told the jury that Ryan Hale had been acquitted of affray, despite bringing a metal bar to the scene.

Referring to Mr Hale and Mr Hales, she told the jury: 'There's no special law that says bottles are not allowed but iron bars and kicking with your feet is.'

She questioned whether Ali had made a 'determined effort' to make contact with the bottle, and said he had not smashed it before doing so.

'Does he really whack people with the bottle?' she asked, adding that the bottle did not smash on impact with Mr Barry's shoulder.

Ali had not been aware that it was Mr Barry who reached across him, she said.

Miss Midgley said there may have been a 'misunderstanding' that caused violence to erupt between Stokes, Ali, Mr Hale and Mr Hales.

'The prosecution says they don't know how the incident started,' she told the jury.

'We don't have footage of the start of the incident. You can't disprove the position that what Ryan Ali says is correct, that he was responding to a threat from others.

'The evidence that you have, I say, makes it likely that his case is right.'

Stokes admitted having no recollection of the exact words they used. He was accused of over-exaggerating the Hale and Ali's behaviour in an attempt to cover up his violent outburst.

He confessed to lying to police that the gay pair were his 'friends,' admitting he didn't know them.

Taking to the witness box for a second day of evidence, Stokes told Bristol Crown Court on Friday his memory of the late night ruckus was 'clouded,' and that he couldn't remember 'every little detail.'

Prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis asked Stokes under cross-examination if he had a 'significant memory blackout' of events on the night, to which he replied: 'You could say that, yes.'

Stokes disagreed that his eyes were 'glazed' and his speech slurred in the footage of his arrest.

England cricketer Ben Stokes centre, arrives at Bristol Crown Court. Photo / AP
England cricketer Ben Stokes centre, arrives at Bristol Crown Court. Photo / AP

And he also denied claims he appeared enraged in CCTV footage from outside the Mbargo nightclub, where he is alleged to have humiliated a bouncer before mocking the gay men minutes before scuffling with Hale and Ali.

'I don't think you can tell if I'm angry,' Stokes said.

When the prosecutor asked what he was looking at at one point in the footage, the cricketer said: 'I might just be looking at the night sky.'

Mr Corsellis said: 'Who were you speaking to when you were looking at the night sky?'

Stokes replied: 'God?'

Mr Corsellis then asked: 'Mr Stokes, you are just in front of the jury, trying to cover up your actions. You know you were angry and this CCTV was you looking angry, isn't it?', to which Stokes replied: 'No.'

Having been denied entry to the Mbargo nightclub, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were heading to a casino when they got into the alleged fracas with Hale and Ali.

Despite telling police he was defending his 'gay friends', Stokes admitted he had never met the men before, adding: 'They weren't my friends. That's what I chose to call them at the time.'

Ali's defence solicitor Anna Midgley told Stokes: 'You have misrepresented your own behaviour to the jury as you did when you said to the police, 'abusing my two gay friends'. These were not your friends.'

Ali said he was 'having some banter' with Barry and O'Connor when Stokes suddenly charged towards him.

'I recall we were in a group of four, having a laugh and having some banter and the next thing I remember is having a tall blonde man charging towards me,' Ali said.

He added: 'The next thing that I recall is walking in the road with my palms open, walking backwards, saying 'I don't want no trouble' or words to that effect.

'I just didn't want any trouble so I was backing away, trying to retreat. At that point, I recall seeing Ryan to my righthand side, unconscious on the floor.

'I have a memory of calming down Mr Stokes. I recall trying to calm him down. I thought I did because he turned away from me. He then turned his attention away from me and turns to Ryan Hale who is unconscious on the floor.

'I saw that as an opportunity to try to restrain Mr Stokes from attacking my friend, who couldn't defend himself. As Mr Stokes's back was turned away from me, I saw that as an opportunity to get behind him.

'I used my right arm around his neck and my left arm to grab his left hand so I could pull him against me to try to restrain him.'

Ali told the jury he is still under the care of a maxillofacial surgeon. 'I still get double vision when I look around,' he told the court.

'I get floaters and my eye goes blurry quite a lot so I have to blink to re-focus.'

Under-cross examination from Gordon Cole QC, representing Stokes, Ali denied that Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry were 'being a bit of a nuisance' as they walked away from Mbargo, and were getting 'irate' with them.

'I wouldn't say they were. We were having a good laugh with them,' Ali replied.

Stokes and Ali deny a joint charge of affray. Hale faced the same charge but was found not guilty on Thursday due to insufficient evidence.