Stokes 'was main aggressor in nightclub fight'


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Ben Stokes denies affray and is on trial at Bristol Crown Court

England cricketer Ben Stokes was the “main aggressor” in a fight outside a nightclub, a court has heard.

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

Bristol Crown Court previously heard Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, were knocked unconscious by 27-year-old Mr Stokes, who denies affray.

Mr Ali and Mr Hale have also pleaded not guilty to affray and are on trial alongside the cricketer.

Witness Mark Spure, an off-duty police community support officer (PCSO), told the jury he had spotted “three to five” people involved in a “scuffle”.

Mr Spure said he tried to separate two of the men, with the others continuing their behaviour behind him.

“The individual seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to another individual,” Mr Spure told the court.

“In my statement I describe him as a gentleman with ginger or light brown hair. He had a green t-shirt on.”

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Ryan Ali (left) and Ryan Hale have both pleaded not guilty to affray

Mr Spure said Mr Ali “seemed to be trying to back away or get away from the situation” before he was punched by Mr Stokes.

He told the court he had tried to move Mr Ali out of the road, as there were passing cars, but he was “completely unable to move”.

Mr Spure said he had identified Mr Stokes to police officers, who then arrested the cricketer.

The court has been told that Mr Stokes first hit Mr Hale, knocking him to the ground, before rendering Mr Ali unconscious in the punch seen by Mr Spure.

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The fight took place after Mr Stokes was turned away from Mbargo nightclub, the court heard

CCTV footage shown to the court earlier showed Mr Hale carrying “what appears to be a metal pole with a t-bar on it” as he headed towards Mr Stokes, according to Det Con Daniel Adams, the officer in the case.

He told the jury it was “very difficult to tell” from the footage what Mr Hale was doing with the pole, but he “made his way back towards the melee carrying the bar”.

Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, asked if he saw Mr Hale “put that implement down before he gets to the group?” Det Con Adams replied: “No.”

Mr Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, was arrested in the early hours along with Mr Ali, of Bristol, and Mr Hale, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.

The fight took place several hours after England had played a one-day international against West Indies at the city’s County Ground.

The trial continues.

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