Ben Stokes remembers taking swing at man outside club

Ben Stokes trial: Cricketer identified as

Ben Stokes has told a court in Bristol he "stepped into" an altercation in the city to help two men who were the victims of homophobic abuse.

Stokes, who plays for Durham, is standing trial at Bristol Crown Court jointly accused of affray alongside Ali.

The cricketer, who has reported drinking five vodka mixer drinks and two or three beers before the incident, also said: "Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale were taller and broader than Kai and William".

"I was in the army and I know what reasonable force is", he said. "There was confrontation between four guys".

Mr Stokes described his face as a "pretty stupid face". I stepped in and said 'you shouldn't be saying these things to these two men. "Then he attacked me and Ryan (Ali) intervenes but clearly it was the other way round", Hale said.

He added: "I was told by Mr Ali along the lines of "Shut the f*** up or I'll bottle you".

Stokes said he had been wearing black ripped jeans, a green T-shirt and white Buscemi high-top shoes with gold padlocks on the back. "He waved it at Mr Hales".

While the judge acknowledged footage of Hale running towards the fray with a length of metal torn from a road sign, he said there was no evidence of him attempting to use it. He is having a go at Ryan and I am trying to stop any fight, to stop him getting hurt.

"That s the moment I get smashed to the face".

"I noticed that they both had glass bottles in their hands". I don t know why he didn t stop.

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He feared "other people could be a target of either of these two men" and that he "felt under threat by these two and felt I had to do whatever it was to keep myself and others around me safe".

Hale, who is from Bristol, said he suffered a mini-stroke the month before the incident in August previous year, which resulted in intermittent memory loss. "From the movement on the video, I am not acting like a drunk idiot", he said. Stokes said: "I took the decision for what I did very quickly. I'm an ex-soldier, to me it's banter", he said. I don't remember which order it was in. I was grabbed and pulled.

"I wasn't aware [of what had happened] to the bottle Ali had had in his hand. I don't really remember how it all happened from there". It was Mr Hale. I just remember them crossing the road and there was a commotion. His arms were raised up. Mr Barry grabs Mr Ali around the groin area. I didn't want to give anyone a chance of doing anything to me.

"He probably thought I wasn't going to be like that".

"They weren't obviously going to let them say what they were saying".

"I initially got involved in a verbal altercation which turned into an attack which did involve weapons". I wasn't going to let them have any opportunity to do that.

The jury at the Ben Stokes trial at Bristol crown court has been directed by the judge, Peter Blair QC, to find defendant Ryan Hale not guilty of affray following legal submissions.

"Upon analysis of the evidence, in terms of what the law would require to be proven, I have come to the conclusion that you can not properly convict him of the charge of affray".

The footage also appeared to show Hales telling the police officer that he did not arrive on the scene until after the fight had finished.

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