Article

Stokes ´keen´ for court appearance after affray charge

15 January 2018 17:05

Ben Stokes said he will welcome the opportunity to clear his name in court after the England all-rounder was charged with affray over an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.

The 26-year-old was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following a disturbance in September and has been waiting to discover what action might be taken since the Avon and Somerset Police referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Stokes and two other men - named as Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale - were on Monday charged with one count of affray and will appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court, at a date which has not yet been confirmed.

The England Test vice-captain, unavailable to play for his country since his arrest after being suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said he is keen to give his account of the incident in court when the time comes.

Stokes said in a statement: "I want to thank all those who have continued to support me in relation to the Bristol incident, not least my family, friends, fans and team-mates.

"I gave a full and detailed account of my actions to the police on day one – the same day as the incident – and cooperated at each step of the police inquiry. 

"I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name but, on advice, the appropriate time to do this is when the case comes to trial.

"The CPS' decision to charge me, as well as Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, at least means that my account of what happened that night can come out in court and be made public. Until then, my focus is very much on cricket. Ben."

The ECB revealed that it would "convene within 48 hours" to make a call on Stokes' availability.

England were thrashed 4-0 by Australia in the Ashes in his absence, but won the opening match of the one-day international series against Steve Smith's side.

Stokes was named in the ODI squad, but it appears unlikely that he will play any part in the rest of the series. 

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