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Stokes out to clear name after being hit with charge of affray


By Steve Simpson

Ben Stokes has said he is keen to clear his name after being charged with affray.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced that the England all-rounder had been charged following a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

Two other men have also been charged in relation to the matter and they will appear at a magistrates' court in due course.

Stokes, who missed England's Ashes series in Australia following the incident, wrote on Twitter: "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 team-mates.

"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."

Stokes (26) was arrested after the incident, which occurred in the early hours of September 25 after England beat the West Indies in Bristol.

He was suspended by England as police conducted inquiries, and missed the Ashes series in Australia, although he was allowed to play some club cricket in New Zealand.

He was ruled out of England's ongoing one-day series in Australia last week, but was given permission to play in the next Indian Premier League.

He was also named in the England squad for the Test series in New Zealand in March, but his availability will now be discussed by the board.

An ECB spokesperson said: "ECB is aware that Stokes has been charged with affray in relation to an incident in Bristol in September. The Board will now convene within 48 hours to decide on Ben Stokes' availability to represent England at this stage."

No date has yet been fixed for Stokes' court appearance.

A statement from the CPS read: "The CPS was passed a file of evidence by Avon & Somerset Police on November 29, 2017 in relation to an incident of disorder in Bristol city centre.

"Further material was subsequently received 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."

Avon and Somerset Police added in a statement: "Three men have today been charged in connection with an incident of disorder on Queens Road, Bristol on September 25 last year.

"Having carefully considered the evidence, the CPS has today authorised Ben Stokes (26), of Durham, Ryan Ali, (28) and Ryan Hale, (26), both of Bristol, to each be charged with one count of affray.

"They will appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court at a date to be confirmed."

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