England cricket star Ben Stokes not guilty of affray


England all-rounder Ben Stokes is set to miss the third Test against India regardless of the outcome of his trial for affray at Bristol Crown Court.

The England Cricket Board said Stokes would now join the England squad for the third test against India which starts on Saturday, and would at some point face a disciplinary process.

England lead the five-match series 2-0, reducing the pressure on the team management to rush back Stokes even if he is found not guilty.

The 27-year-old was cleared unanimously after a week-long trial that began on August 6 by a jury consisting of six men and as many women.

Stokes, 27, was accused of knocking unconscious two men, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, in a brawl in Bristol, southwest England, last September just hours after he had played in a one-day global against the West Indies.

As the verdicts were delivered at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, Stokes closed his eyes and then looked up.

Stokes was on trial for knocking out two men in the southwest English city of Bristol last September.

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During the trial, the court was told that Stokes lost control after drinking heavily.

He said Stokes was mimicking the mannerisms and voices of two gay men, William O'Connor and Kai Barry, outside the club but the cricketer insisted they were exchanging "banter" about his expensive white leather shoes. The two men shook hands after the jurors pronounced the verdict earlier today.

Ali denied that Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry were being "a bit of a nuisance" and he and Mr Hale were getting "irate" with them.

Mooney, representing Hale before his client was acquitted on the judge's direction, told the court that Hales was seen "stamping down on Mr Ali at least twice" when he was on the floor, having been hit by Stokes.

"When I realised who he was I thought "fair play", cos obviously he's put his career at risk for someone that he never knew". "They just want to get in with their lives".

Ali, an emergency services worker, suffered a fractured eye socket while Mr Hale, a former soldier, was left with concussion.

The decision means European Central Bank could yet make changes to the unchanged squad it named for the Trent Bridge Test against India, starting on August 18.