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England cricketer Ben Stokes found not guilty of affray in court trial

England cricketer Ben Stokes found not guilty of affray in court trial
By Eurosport

14/08/2018 at 13:54Updated 18/09/2018 at 17:35

Ben Stokes has been found not guilty of affray over an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.

Both Stokes and co-defendant Ryan Ali were found not guilty, with the jury at Bristol crown court unanimous in their verdict.

The incident saw the cricketer involved in a late-night brawl outside a Bristol nightclub, with the 27-year-old subsequently left out of last winter's Ashes Tour to Australia before being charged with affray in January of this year.

England's Ben Stokes

England's Ben StokesReuters

Stokes was alleged to have punched Ali, 28, in the fracas, but the England and Durham all-rounder argued that he had acted in self-defence.

A third man involved in the incident - Ryan Hale, 27 - was acquitted by the judge (Peter Blair QC) earlier in the trial due to lack of evidence.

Stokes has claimed throughout that he initially became involved in the incident to defend two men who he told the court were targets of homophobic abuse from Ali and Hale - a claim that both denied. Stokes argued that he only became physically involved when Ali said: "Shut the f*** up or I’ll bottle you."

The cricketer told the court that: "All my actions were in self-defence and fearing for my safety."

Stokes was not originally included in the England squad for the third test against India, which started on Saturday 18 August, but was subsequently added to the playing group after Tuesday's verdict.