Stokes to face trial over club fight

Doris Richards
February 15, 2018

England cricketer Ben Stokes arrives at the Bristol Crown Court to enter a not guilty plea on a charge of affray.

However, England coach Trevor Bayliss is in no mood to rush the all-rounder's return to the team's playing XI.

"He is not being considered for the ongoing global T20 Tri-Series".

Yet the European Central Bank statement emphasised any obligations he has within the legal process "will always take precedence" over his England commitments.

Stokes will not have to return to the United Kingdom for a pre-trial hearing in Bristol on March 12. He was named in England's squads for the one-day series with New Zealand, which starts on February 25, as well as the subsequent Tests, on March 22-26 and March 30-April 3.

Hours earlier, Stokes had played for England in a one-day worldwide against the West Indies.

Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, both of Bristol, are also facing the same charge.

It carries a maximum penalty when tried summarily - in the magistrates' court - of a fine or up to six months in prison, and when tried on indictment - in the crown court - of up to three years in prison.

Stokes, one of world cricket's most destructive batsmen, last played a competitive match for Canterbury in New Zealand's domestic T20 competition last December.

The three men spoke to confirm their names, addresses and nationality. The ECB had then conceded that they are awaiting the final verdict from the court on the issue before taking any further step.

The two losses against Australia has left them staring down the barrel when they face New Zealand again in Hamilton this weekend. His case was referred to Bristol Crown Court, with a first hearing set for March 12.

The three men have been released on bail.

This means that Stokes, who has missed the Ashes after being suspended by the England Cricket Board due to the brawl incident, would be able to play in the ODI series against New Zealand.

The first hearing in the trial was scheduled for March 12.

Last month, the European Central Bank said that, "given the potential length of time to trial", it would not be "fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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