The jury on Wednesday in the Ben Stokes affray trial at Bristol Crown Court was shown security camera footage of the brawl outside Bristol nightclub Mbargo between the England cricketer and Ryan Ali, Ryan Hale.
According to reports, the footage showed a man allegedly grabbing the groin of another defendant right before the brawl took place on September 25, 2017. According to the prosecution, Stokes informed police that he had overheard ‘nasty homophobic language’ before intervening and claimed that he thought they were going to hit him with a bottle, forcing him to act in self-defence.
The jurors were shown security camera footage of Ali and Hale holding beer bottles along with Kai Barry and William O’Connor, who the prosecution described as ‘flamboyant, extrovert and openly gay’ regulars at the nightclub.
The footage further showed that Stokes, along with teammate Alex Hales overtaking the four before the England cricketer stops and turns back to look at Barry and Ali, who appear to be having an argument. Detective Constable Daniel Adams said, “Mr Barry grabs Mr Ali around the groin area. Mr Barry appears to link arms with Mr Ali and is shrugged off and pushed away. From this point it is very difficult to identify who is involved.”
The footage then showed Stokes approaching the men as Hale is seen collapsing to the floor, before picking himself up after 20 seconds and disappearing from view before returning. “Ryan Hale returns with what appears to be a metal pole,” Adams said. “He is making his way back towards the melee, carrying the bar.”
Stokes, who starred on Saturday as England beat India in the first Test at Edgbaston, is missing the second Test at Lord’s due to the trial, which is expected to last five to seven days.