The co-defendant in the Ben Stokes trial has accepted video footage shows he struck a man with a bottle before he was punched by Stokes.
Ryan Ali, who like Stokes is on trial for affray at Bristol Crown Court, accepted under cross-examination from Gordon Cole QC, acting on behalf of Stokes, that he could be seen “going towards” England cricketer Alex Hales with a bottle in the footage.
Ali, who suffered a fractured left eye socket in the incident, also accepted the footage showed he struck another man, Kai Barry, with the bottle. Ali insisted, however, that he did so only to defend himself.
“Do you remember, with a bottle in your hand, going towards Hales?” Cole asked.
“I don’t recall that,” Ali replied.
“But you agree the footage shows that?” Cole continued.
“Yes,” replied Ali.
“And do you accept the footage shows you striking Mr Barry with the bottle?”
“I do,” Ali said.
Ali was also pressed on his claim that he attempted to place Stokes in a headlock after Ali’s friend, Ryan Hale, was apparently unconscious on the pavement. CCTV footage shown to the jury, Cole suggested, demonstrated that Ali could only have placed Stokes in a headlock after Hale had regained his feet, picked up a length of metal from a broken road sign and returned to the scene of the action.
“Had you been struck by the time Mr Hale returns?” asked Cole.
“Not on the footage,” replied Ali.
Ali also accepted, under Cole’s cross-examination, that he could only have taken hold of Stokes when the England cricketer had turned away from him and not when he was coming towards him as previously suggested.
“When you got hold of him from behind, did you put your arm around his neck and grab his left arm and pull it in against you?” Cole asked.
“Yes,” replied Ali.
“So he could not have been coming towards you, could he?” Cole continued.
“No,” said Ali. “Because he had turned away.”
Stokes accepts he threw “multiple punches” and connected with both Hale and Ali, but insists he did so only because he feared for the safety of himself and others and only after a bottle had been used in the fray. His defence team have also shown the jury CCTV footage of Hale running towards the group with the metal bar.
With all sides having now provided their evidence in the case, Monday will see a summing up from the barristers involved. On Monday or Tuesday, then, the jury can be expected to retire to make their decision. The charge of affray carries a maximum prison sentence of three years and an unlimited fine.
Hale, who saw the case against him dismissed on Thursday, watched proceedings on Friday from the public gallery.
The trial continues.