Cricketer Ben Stokes accused of lying to the jury over 'homophobic abuse'

Cricketer Ben Stokes accused of lying to the jury over 'homophobic abuse'

Cricketer Ben Stokes accused of lying to the jury over 'homophobic abuse'

He told the court he felt "constantly under threat" by two men who he claims made homophobic slurs to another two men.

"I can't recollect the direct words, but I'm very clear the words used were of homophobic abuse", Stokes said.

After failing to be allowed back into the Mbargo nightclub as it was closing, Stokes and his team-mate Alex Hales were heading to a casino when they got into the alleged fracas with the two men in the early hours of September 25 past year.

Among them would have been a bottle of beer after England's match against the West Indies, two or three pints with a meal at the team hotel, and five or six vodka and lemonades while out in Bristol.

Stokes told the jury he stepped in after telling the men to stop, but that he had "significant memory blackout" about exactly what they had said to the couple.

Stokes said he intervened because Ali and his friend Ryan Hale had directed alleged homophobic abuse at gay men William O'Connor and Kai Barry as they walked away from Mbargo nightclub.

He said: "You are not telling the truth to this jury". Corsellis continued. "You're lying about mimicking and mocking Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor".

Under cross-examination by Mr Ali's defence counsel, he was questioned whether he had misheard what was being said.

"You were aggressive, demeaning and looking for a fight".

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"As soon as I see Mr Ali swing the bottle at someone and physically hit them with it, that's when I took the decision that I needed to get involved". Midgley asked. "You've misrepresented what happened, haven't you?" However this incident started, when you saw Mr Ali had a bottle and that he was threatening to Alex Hales and hit Kai Barry on the shoulder, you made a decision to get involved and after you had been on the ground and he (Mr Ali) disarmed you thought, "I am going to show you what violence is" and you thought, "I am going to retaliate and I am going to punish you and hit you out of revenge".

There was also video evidence of Ali striking Barry with that bottle, but like Stokes, Ali too claimed to have acted in self-defence.

Mr Corsellis asked: "Mr Stokes, you are just in front of the jury, trying to cover up your actions". The sportsman replied: "You could say that, yes".

Stokes replied again: "Absolutely not".

He also denied making derogatory comments about Mbargo doorman Andrew Cunningham's gold teeth and tattoos.

Mr Hale was acquitted of affray on Thursday.

Looking at security camera footage from outside the nightclub, Stokes said it was not possible to tell if he was angry.

Stokes said the cricketers offered Cunningham around PS60 or PS70 ($104 or $120) to get them into the club, which was turned down. Corsellis asked. "The CCTV shows you being angry, doesn't it?"

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