Potential jurors in Ben Stokes affray trial asked if they are cricket fans
The 27-year-old is facing charges alongside two other men after an alleged incident in Bristol last September.
Potential jurors in the trial of England cricketer Ben Stokes have been asked by a judge whether they were “extremely committed” cricket fans following either England or India.
The 27-year-old all-rounder is facing trial with Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, after they were jointly charged with affray following an alleged fracas in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol on September 25 last year – several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.
The charge Stokes faces states that their “conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety”, contrary to section 3(1) and (7) of the Public Order Act 1986.
A 27-year-old man allegedly suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, at which fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present.
Wearing a blue suit and red tie, Stokes was driven to the city’s Crown Court in a silver people carrier and walked straight into the building flanked by the media.
A potential jury of 16 people were brought into courtroom one to be asked a series of questions about their knowledge of the defendants.
Judge Peter Blair QC, The Recorder of Bristol, asked them: “Lastly, I ask you this question.
“If will be for you to make a judgment. Are any of you an extremely committed cricket follower? Particularly in the sense of following a national team… England, India… particularly going on tours, following them around the place.”
None of jury in waiting indicated they did.
The potential panel were also asked whether they knew any of the three defendants and a number of other people who could be called to give evidence in the trial.
This includes Stokes’s teammate Alex Hales, William O’Connor and Kai Barry, nightclub doorman Andrew Cunningham, Clifton Triangle residents Maximilian Wilson, Lauren Sweeney and Jess Thomas, and police officers.
None of the potential panel indicated they knew any of the names read out by prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis.
The jury in waiting was then sent away for around an hour while counsel and the judge discussed legal argument.
Stokes sat in the far left of the dock, Hale in the middle and Ali on the far right.
At the beginning of proceedings they were all asked by the clerk to confirm their names, and each replied “Yes.”
Gordon Cole QC and Anu Mohindru are representing Stokes; Stephen Mooney is representing Hale and Anna Midgley is representing Ali. The trial is expected to last between five and seven days.
Stokes missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England. Without him, England lost the Ashes to Australia 4-0.
He has since played in the Test series against New Zealand, Pakistan and, last week, starring as England beat India at Edgbaston.
Stokes, of Stockton Road, Castle Eden, Durham; Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol; and Hale, of Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, are on bail.