Ben Stokes admits to 'memory blackout' over street brawl incident

Stokes is not part of the second Test between England and India at Lord's.

Ben Stokes leaves Bristol Crown Court | Getty

England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Friday (August 10) confessed to the court he had a "significant memory blackout" over street brawl incident but clarified that he was "absolutely not" an angry man who had lost all control.

Stokes and Ryan Ali are being trialled for affray over a scuffle that occurred in Bristol in the early hours of September 25 last year.

According to AFP reports – the all-round cricketer faced cross-examination from the prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis on the fifth day of the trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Stokes asserted he interfered because Ali and his friend Ryan Hale had directed homophobic abuse to a gay couple, William O'Connor and Kai Barry, as they walked away from Mbargo nightclub.

He could not recollect what was said, but "I am very clear that the words that were used were homophobic", he told the court.

The prosecutor asked Stokes if he had a "significant memory blackout" from the night in question.

The star cricket retorted: "You could say that, yes."

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 said he would have had a bottle of beer after the match, two or three pints at the hotel, five or six vodka and lemonades and then "potentially had some Jaegerbombs" in Mbargo.

The prosecutor asked: "You don't really remember significant parts of this incident, for example knocking Mr Ali out? Is that because you were really very drunk?"

Stokes replied: "No. I think the whole incident would have been clouded because it was such... there was a lot of people around... a lot of shouting. I don't remember every little detail."

He added: "It's clearly in my statements that I admit to throwing multiple punches."

Stokes insisted that after he told Ali to stop verbally abusing O'Connor and Barry, Ali told him to be quiet "or I'll bottle you".

The all-rounder made it clear he had not mocked or been homophobic towards Barry and O'Connor when talking with them outside Mbargo.

"I might just be looking at the night sky," he said.

Corsellis asked: "Who were you speaking to when you were looking at the night sky?"

Stokes replied: "God?"

Corsellis said: "When you saw Mr Ali had a bottle and that he was threatening to Alex Hales and hit Kai Barry on the shoulder, you decided to get involved.

"After you had been on the ground and he (Ali) disarmed you thought, 'I am going to show you what violence is' and you thought, 'I am going to retaliate and I am going to punish you and hit you out of revenge'. Is that not the truth?"

Stokes replied: "Absolutely not."

Corsellis asked: "Is it what we see on the footage – an angry man who has lost all control?" Stokes again replied: "Absolutely not."

The trial, which began on Monday, is likely to continue for some more days.

(With inputs from AFP)


By Salman Anjum - 11 Aug, 2018

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