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England all-rounder Ben Stokes ‘keen’ to clear his name following affray charge

Stokes and two other men are due to appear before Bristol Magistrates’ Court on a date to be fixed.

England cricketer Ben Stokes says he is “keen to have an opportunity to clear my name” after being charged with affray following an incident outside a nightclub.

The 26-year-old Durham all-rounder – who missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England – is accused of affray alongside two other men.

It follows a fight in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol during the early hours of September 25 – several hours after England had played a one day international against the West Indies in the city.

It is alleged a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, in which fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Stokes wrote: “I want to thank all those who have continued to support me in relation to the Bristol incident, not least my family, friends, fans and teammates.

“I gave a full and detailed account of my actions to the police on day one – the same day as the incident – and have co-operated at each step of the police inquiry.

“I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name but, on advice, the appropriate time to do this is when the case comes to trial.

“The CPS’ decision to charge me, as well as Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, at least means that my account of what happened that night can come out in court and be made public.

“Until then, my focus is very much on cricket.”

The Crown Prosecution Service said Stokes would be appearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on a date to be fixed.

A spokesman said a file of evidence from Avon and Somerset Police had been received in November, with a further file passed to the CPS 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,” he said.

“Ben Stokes, 26, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, are all due to appear before Bristol Magistrates’ Court on a date to be fixed in relation to this charge.

“The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings are now live and the defendants have a right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice ongoing proceedings.”

Avon and Somerset Police said no action has been taken against a 27-year-old man who previously voluntarily attended a police station for interview.

The charge of affray is made under the Public Order Act 1986 and effectively relates to fighting in public.

It is an triable either-way offence which means it can be heard in either the magistrates’ court or the crown court.

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.

Without Stokes England lost the Ashes to Australia 4-0.

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(Nick Potts/PA)

While England were in Australia Stokes played a few games for Canterbury Kings during a month-long spell in New Zealand before returning home to England.

His next cricket assignment may be a multimillion-pound return to the Indian Premier League after his England employers indicated he will be free to do so if he wishes.

The all-rounder landed himself a £1.7 million deal and starring role with Rising Pune Supergiant last year.

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