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Stokes admits to ‘memory blackout’ on night of brawl

August 11, 2018

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BRISTOL: England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare leave Bristol Crown Court on Friday during the lunch break as he attends a hearing in his trial on charges of affray.—AFP
BRISTOL: England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare leave Bristol Crown Court on Friday during the lunch break as he attends a hearing in his trial on charges of affray.—AFP

BRISTOL: England cricketer Ben Stokes told a court on Friday he was “absolutely not” an angry man who lost all control in a street brawl and admitted his faltering recollection of events was due to a “significant memory blackout”.

International star Stokes and Ryan Ali, both 27, are being tried for affray over a brawl that erupted in Bristol, southwest England, in the early hours of September 25 last year.

The cricketer faced cross-examination from the prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis on the fifth day of the trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Stokes said he intervened because Ali and his friend Ryan Hale had directed alleged homophobic abuse at gay men William O’Connor and Kai Barry as they walked away from Mbargo nightclub.

Corsellis asked Stokes if he had a “significant memory blackout” from the night in question.

The sportsman replied: “You could say that, yes. I don’t remember every little detail.”

He added: “It’s clearly in my statements that I admit to throwing multiple punches.” Stokes insisted that after he told Ali to stop verbally abusing O’Connor and Barry, Ali told him to shut up “or I’ll bottle you”.

The cricketer told the court he had not mocked Barry and O’Connor when talking with them outside Mbargo, where he and fellow cricketer Hales had been refused re-entry.

Looking at security camera footage from outside the nightclub, Stokes said it was not possible to tell if he was angry. “I might just be looking at the night sky,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2018