ENGLAND CRICKETER Ben Stokes is facing the possible end of his career tonight, as he has been sent for trial on the charge of affray. However, the 26 year old all-rounder is welcoming the prospect of a trial as an opportunity to clear his name.
The charge arises out of an allegation that Stokes was involved in a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol last September. In addition to Stokes, two other men were involved in the fight and have also been charged with affray – Ryan Hale, 26, and Ryan Aslam Ali, 28, both from Bristol. During the fight, one man suffered a serious injury, namely a broken eye socket.
All three defendants appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court and were granted unconditional bail. The judge sent the matter to Bristol Crown Court for trial. The first hearing will take place on 12th March, but it is thought that the defendants will not attend what is likely to be a preliminary hearing to agree arrangements for the full trial.
Stokes plays county cricket for Durham. He missed the Ashes tour of Australia this winter because of the possibility of charges hanging over him, but had been due to return to the England squad for a match against New Zealand. In the end, today’s court appearance kept him out of the team, but he is now due to head out to New Zealand as a member of the England squad participating in the Twenty20 tri-series.
The English Cricket Board (ECB) and Stokes himself must both be hoping for a positive outcome when the case is finally heard. It will be a difficult wait till the trial.