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BBC : Ben Stokes trial: Cricketer 'stepped in' to defend two gay men

BBC : Ben Stokes trial: Cricketer 'stepped in' to defend two gay men
BBC : Ben Stokes trial: Cricketer 'stepped in' to defend two gay men

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Media captionFootage from the arresting officer's bodycam has been shown to the jury at Mr Stokes' trial.

England cricketer Ben Stokes has told a court he "stepped in" to defend two gay men before an alleged brawl outside a nightclub.

The Durham all-rounder is one of two men accused of fighting in Bristol on 25 September 2017.

At Bristol Crown Court Mr Stokes, 27, denies affray and in his evidence said he was not drunk on the night.

Ryan Ali, 28, has also pleaded not guilty to affray while Ryan Hale, 27, was acquitted of affray earlier.

Giving evidence for the first time, Mr Stokes told the court he intervened when he heard Mr Hale and Mr Ali "shouting homophobic comments" at two gay men, Kai Barry and William O'Connor.

He told the jury: "I stepped in and said 'you shouldn't be saying these things to these two men'."

The prosecution has accused Mr Stokes of mimicking the voices and mannerisms of Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor in what was described as "a derogatory way".

Mr Stokes was asked by his barrister Gordon Cole QC if any of his actions towards the two gay men outside Mbargo nightclub were homophobic.

The cricketer told the court: "Definitely not. The only comments between myself and this gay couple was about what we was wearing that night."

Prosecutors previously told the court that Mr Ali and Mr Hale were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Ben Stokes has begun giving evidence in his defence in court

Mr Stokes said that after a win against the West Indies he had celebrated at the ground then had two or three pints with a meal.

After the meal, Mr Stokes and some of his England teammates went to Mbargo, where they drank five or six vodka and lemonades.

Mr Cole asked: "Were you drunk?" "No," Mr Stokes replied.

The Durham all-rounder said a large group then decided to go to the Pryzm nightclub instead.

Mr Cole showed the jury a photograph of Mr Stokes and teammates James Anderson, Jake Ball and Alex Hales taken outside Pryzm.

He then returned to Mbargo in a taxi with Mr Hales.

Mr Stokes said there was nothing unusual in how he had behaved in his dealings with nightclub doorman Andrew Cunningham.

When asked by Mr Cole if he became enraged at some point, Mr Stokes said: "No."

He also said he did not remember flicking his cigarette at the gay couple outside the club.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ryan Hale has been found not guilty of affray

The court heard earlier that former soldier Mr Hale told police in a formal interview he believed Mr Stokes could have killed him.

He added: "I'm a dad. He could have killed me. I don't know why he didn't stop."

Mr Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, and Mr Ali, of Bristol, both deny a joint charge of affray.

The trial continues.

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