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Cricketer Ben Stokes ‘mocked two gay men’ before attack outside Bristol club

Lydia Smith August 6, 2018
England Cricketer Ben Stokes walks into Bristol Crown Court on August 6, 2018 in Bristol, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty)

Stokes walks into Bristol Crown Court (Matt Cardy/Getty)

England cricketer Ben Stokes mocked two gay men before having a fight outside a nightclub, a court has heard.

Stokes allegedly made “fun” of the men for their “camp behaviour” and impersonated their hand movements, before flicking the butt of his cigarette at them, the jury heard.

The 27 year old is accused of punching Ryan Hale, 27, to the ground, before allegedly knocking out Ryan Ali, 28. Hale allegedly suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident.

Stokes, Hale and Ali are jointly accused of affray, a charge they all deny, and are on trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Stokes’s international career will be placed in suspended animation during the trial (Adria Dennis//AFP/Getty)

The incident took place after the defendants left the Mbargo nightclub in the Clifton Triangle area of the city on 25 September 2017.

The defendants had been drinking in the club earlier that night before leaving the venue and returning shortly after 2am.

Doorman Andrew Cunningham told the three men that the club was closed and they would not be allowed back in.

Stokes allegedly mocked the two gay men, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, as he argued with Cunningham over re-entry into the club.

Ryan Hale arrives at Bristol Crown Court (Matt Cardy/Getty)

The jury heard Stokes became “aggressive” and insulted the doorman’s appearance after his offers of £60 and then £300 to get back into the bar were refused.

The cricketer then allegedly turned to the two gay men outside the venue.

Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, told the jury: “Mr Cunningham observed Mr Stokes’s behaviour towards them.

“He noted that he was mimicking their voices and mannerisms in what he described as ‘a derogatory way,’ thereby making fun of their camp behaviour.

Ryan Ali (R) arrives at Bristol Crown Court (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

“The CCTV footage, which does not have audio, suggests that sort of behaviour did take place, with Mr Stokes copying hand gestures made by the men.”

Corsellis added: “Past success, fame or good deeds does not absolve you from your duty – and the law – to behave yourself.

“This was not a trivial moment of unpleasantness. It was a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place.

“A bottle was used at the beginning and a broken street sign brought into the fray towards the end.”

More: ben stokes, Bristol, cricket, Crime, sport, UK

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