England all-rounder Ben Stokes is alleged to have mocked a gay couple before fighting with two other men in a street brawl in Bristol last September, a court heard on Monday (August 6).
According to AFP reports – "Stokes has acted in “revenge, retaliation or punishment” and was involved in a “sustained episode of significant violence”, prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis told a jury at Bristol Crown Court.
Stokes — on trial for affray charges – is accused of knocking out 27-year-old Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, 28 in a scuffle. Interestingly, all three of them have denied the charge of affray.
“During the incident, Mr Stokes lost his control and started to attack with revenge, retaliation or punishment in mind. Well beyond acting in self defence or defence of another,” Corsellis quoted as saying by AFP.
“He knocked Mr Hale unconscious and then — after time to pause for thought, to calm — he did exactly the same to Mr Ali. Mr Ali received significant injuries including a fractured eye socket and required hospital treatment,” he added.
“This was not a trivial moment of unpleasantness. It was a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked. A bottle was used at the beginning by Mr Ali and a broken street sign brought into the fray towards the end by Mr Hale,” he further explained.
Stokes had earlier gestured towards two gay men, Kai Barry and William O'Connor, in a derogatory manner, the court heard.
The fight had taken place outside a Bristol nightclub at 2:00 AM on 25th September 2017. It is worth mentioning here that just a few hours before the incident, Stokes had played a 50-over match against the West Indies.
Stokes and some England team-mates, including batsman Alex Hales, arrived at Mbargo nightclub at around 11:30 PM. Stokes and Hales left at 12:46 AM and returned at 2:08 AM.
"Two "flamboyant, extrovert and openly gay" regulars, Barry and O'Connor, then left the club. Footage showed they had had some contact with Stokes and Hales inside,” the trial described the event.
"Cunningham saw Stokes "mimicking their voices and mannerisms" in a derogatory way, mocking their “camp behaviour", the prosecutor said.
The video footage of the unpleasant incident obtained by ‘The Sun’ last year clearly suggests that Stokes was swearing and throwing punches at two men in a nasty face-off. In the close to a minute long video, Alex Hales can be seen trying to calm Stokes down by repeatedly saying "Enough, Stokes". Subsequent, the all-rounder was arrested on the charges of causing actual bodily harm to two men.
"When being told by the officers the reason for his arrest, Stokes said that he had acted in the way that he did 'because he was abusing my two friends for being gay'," the prosecutor said.
The trial, expected to last between five and seven days, will resume at 3 PM IST on Tuesday (August 7).
Meanwhile, Stokes has not been picked for the second Test between England and India, scheduled to be played at Lord’s from Thursday (August 9).
(With AFP inputs)