Court hears Ben Stokes mocked gay duo's 'camp behaviour'

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Bristol Crown Court heard Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes in Bristol on 25 September 2017. The fight took place outside after 2:00am on Sept 25 past year, the prosecutor said.

Further down the street, he fought his co-defendants in a "sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked".

Film student Max Wilson, who lives in a flat on the triangle, filmed some of the fight after he was woken up.

Mr Stokes and his teammate Alex Hales had left the nightclub at 00:46 but returned at 02:08.

Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, said Mr Stokes, 27, had "knocked Mr Hale unconscious and then - after time to pause for thought, to calm - he did exactly the same to Mr Ali".

"Ben Stokes, is a professional cricket player who has reached the top of his profession and represented his country", Corsellis said.

He was supported by wife Clare in the public gallery.

Stokes missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England.

He was reinstated and has since played in the Test series against New Zealand, Pakistan and, on Saturday, starred as England beat India at Edgbaston.

The fight took place outside a Bristol nightclub after 2am, the prosecutor said, just hours after Stokes featured in a one-day global over West Indies. "They left and walked up the road".

Stokes then spoke to two men - Kai Barry and William O'Connor - who were described by the prosecutor as "flamboyant, extrovert and openly gay".

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Mr Corsellis told the jury: 'Mr Cunningham observed Mr Stokes's behaviour towards them [the gay men].

After he was arrested Mr Stokes was interviewed by police, and in a prepared statement said he saw two men speaking to two gay men in a "harsh and abusive" way.

Security camera footage appeared to show Stokes copying hand gestures and flicking a cigarette at O´Connor´s head. Mr Cunningham said to Mr Stokes, "if you want to start on anyone, start on me"'.

Stokes, Ali and Hale were all involved in threatening and/or using unlawful violence towards each other, it is alleged. Neither Mr Barry nor Mr O'Connor will be giving evidence.

Mr Cunningham said he explained to them the club was closed and they would not be allowed to enter. Hale told officers that there was "banter but no malice".

Mr Corsellis said: "Why was it necessary to punch someone this hard?" The violence that erupted could actually have stopped very quickly and it would have remained a relatively minor incident.

'Well beyond acting in self-defence or defence of another.

Chip on shoulder Mr Hale then "grabbed and pulled" him, and Mr Stokes "felt the need to defend himself as he thought he was going to be attacked" and hit him "more than once", jurors were told.

"Mr Ali received significant injuries included a fractured eye socket and required hospital treatment".

"This was no trivial moment of "unpleasantness", Mr Corsellis told Bristol Crown Court".

"Equally, Mr Ali has worked for the emergency services and Mr Hale has served his country in the armed forces".