England allrounder Ben Stokes pleads not guilty to affray over nightclub incident in Bristol

Ben Stokes leaves Bristol Magistrate’s Court.Source: Getty Images

ENGLAND all-rounder Ben Stokes, accused of involvement in an altercation outside a nightclub that cost him his place on the Ashes tour, pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray in court on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old, who missed the trip to Australia after being suspended from playing for England, appeared at a magistrates’ court in the southwestern city of Bristol along with Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale.

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It follows the altercation during the early hours of September 25 last year, several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.

It is alleged a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, at which fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present. Hales faced no charges.

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Very excited to be joining the @rajasthanroyals in this years #IPL as team mentor ! #HallaBol

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“I am very happy and excited to be back with the Rajasthan Royals who I believe hold a very special place in my cricketing journey,” said Warne.

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“I am overwhelmed by the love and affection showered on me by the franchise and fans of Rajasthan Royals.” IPL teams are known to keep retired players as coaches and mentors to help motivate the young and senior members in their dug-out.

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Warne took 56 wickets in his 52 games with the Royals, who were barred for two seasons along with Chennai Super Kings in 2015 over an illegal gambling scandal.

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They have put together a strong squad ahead of their return for the 2018 edition, bagging top names including England all-rounder Ben Stokes in the player auction last month.

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Stokes was secured for close to $2 million while Indian seamer Jaydev Unadkat was contracted by the Royals at $1.8 million.

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TRIAL: Stokes pleads not guilty to affray

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They were two of the biggest buys in a two-day auction that witnessed almost $70 million splurged by the franchises.

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“The guys have done a wonderful job at getting the squad together. So many talented Indian, international, senior and young players they always support,” said Warne.

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“It really is a wonderful squad and I think it can achieve some special things in 2018.”

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Warne, regarded as one of the greatest leg-spinners in the history of cricket, picked up 708 wickets in 145 Tests during his 15-year international career.

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The IPL, the world’s most popular T20 domestic league, is slated to be held between April 7 and May 27. The tournament has been boosted by a new five year $2.5-billion media deal.

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ENGLAND all-rounder Ben Stokes, accused of involvement in an altercation outside a nightclub that cost him his place on the Ashes tour, pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray in court on Tuesday.

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The 26-year-old, who missed the trip to Australia after being suspended from playing for England, appeared at a magistrates’ court in the southwestern city of Bristol along with Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale.

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It follows the altercation during the early hours of September 25 last year, several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.

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It is alleged a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, at which fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present. Hales faced no charges.

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Ali, Stokes and Hale spoke to confirm their names, dates of births, addresses and nationalities. The clerk read out the charges and all three defendants indicated not guilty pleas.

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Stokes is accused jointly with Ali and Hale of using or threatening unlawful violence towards another.

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The charge states that his “conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety”. The other two defendants face the same charge.

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All three defendants elected to be tried by a jury at a crown court.

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“I have decided that your trial will take place at the crown court at Bristol. The first hearing date will be March 12,” said District Judge Simon Cooper. “You will be on bail.” Without Stokes, England lost the Ashes to Australia 4-0.

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While England were in Australia, Stokes played a few games for Canterbury Kings during a month-long spell in New Zealand before returning home to England.

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