Jury finds Ben Stokes not guilty of affray

The verdict in Stokes’s trial is expected tomorrow or Wednesday

The verdict in Stokes’s trial is expected tomorrow or Wednesday

The England cricketer has been found not guilty of affray after a brawl outside the Mbargo nightclub in September a year ago.

Bristol Crown Court heard that the precise start to the violence is unknown but Ali, who is on trial alongside Stokes accused of affray, swung a beer bottle at Hales.

Mr Ali, who was also charged with affray and acquitted, suffered a fractured eye socket while former soldier Mr Hale, who had been charged but was found not guilty after a direction to the jury from the judge, was left with concussion.

"Considerable detail has been heard in this week-long court case and, in due course, there will be a range of matters for the Board to fully consider", European Central Bank said in a statement.

The 27-year-old all-rounder punched Ryan Hale, 27, to the ground and then knocked out Ryan Ali, 28, during the fracas in the early hours of September 25 last year in Bristol city centre.

The all-rounder had played a handsome role in the first Test in Birmingham.

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Stokes' wife, Clare, and agent, Neil Fairbrother broke down after the verdict while the cricketer closed his eyes in relief without showing a lot of emotions. The jury is likely to retire overnight to consider their verdict in a case that involves one other co-defendant, Ryan Ali.

Stokes missed the second Test against India at Lords and was not included in the squad for the third Test, beginning on Saturday at Trent Bridge, because of the on-going court proceedings.

He has claimed Mr Ali and Mr Hale were being homophobic towards two gay men, Kai Barry and William O'Connor. During the trial the jury was shown body-worn video footage from the arresting police officer that appeared to show Hales denying he had been present at the incident, while both the prosecution and defence barristers alleged video footage showed him kicking Ali in the head.

He and his teammates were out celebrating England's win against the West Indies when a fight broke out and led to Stokes' arrest. He then offered his hand to Ali, who shook it.

"I just didn't want any trouble so I was backing away, trying to retreat".

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