A three month old brawl incident outside a Bristol night-club which had prevented Ben Stokes from playing for his country in the highly-revered Ashes Test, seems to have struck a hard blow to the all-rounder’s cricketing career. The investigation reports have finally come out, and the United Kingdom police have charged Stokes with ‘affray’, in relation to Bristol incident.
As reported by Cricket Australia, Ben Stokes has been charged along with two other men who were involved in the brawl-incident – Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale. The Avon and Somerset Police confirmed on Tuesday, that each of the three men have been charged with one count of affray.
Ben Stokes, and the other two men are now set to appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court, at a date within the next six months which is yet to be confirmed.
A spokesperson for England’s Crown Prosecution Service confirmed the criminal charges and said,
“The CPS was passed a file of evidence by Avon and Somerset Police on 29 November in relation to an incident of disorder in Bristol city centre.”
“Further material was subsequently received in late December. Following a review of all the available evidence, the CPS has today authorised the police to charge three men with affray in connection with the incident.”
Following Ben Stokes’ brawl incident, which had resulted in a man with a fractured eye socket, Stokes was suspended from international cricket until “further notice” by the ECB. Subsequently, the cricketer had missed the Ashes series in Australia, which England lost 4-0 to Australia.
As per reports by ESPN Cricinfo, Avon and Somerset Police added in a statement,
“Three men have today been charged in connection with an incident of disorder on Queens Road, Bristol on September 25 last year.
“Having carefully considered the evidence, the CPS has today authorised Ben Stokes, 26, of Durham, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, both of Bristol, to each be charged with one count of affray. They will appear at Bristol magistrates’ court at a date to be confirmed.”
The ECB has informed that their selection panel will now meet to decide on whether Ben Stokes will be involved with the England national cricket team. An ECB official said in a statement,
“ECB is aware that Ben Stokes has been charged with affray in relation to an incident in Bristol in September.”
“The Board will now convene within 48 hours to decide on Ben Stokes’ availability to represent England at this stage. A further announcement will be made in due course.”
With the investigations reports due to come, Stokes was earlier selected in the England squad for the Gillette ODI series in Australia, but has been replaced since.
However, it has been learnt that Ben Stokes can still appear in next month’s T20I tri-series in Australia and New Zealand, but only if the ECB gives him the green light. Given the present situation, however, it seems highly unlikely.