England all-rounder Ben Stokes has welcomed the opportunity to clear his name in court after being charged with affray over an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
Stokes was arrested following a disturbance at Bristol’s Mbargo club on 25 September, hours after England’s one-day victory over West Indies, where another individual was allegedly left with a fractured eye socket.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has authorised the 26-year-old Durham star to be charged along with two other men and is due to appear before Bristol Magistrates’ Court at a date which is yet to be fixed.
“I gave my full and detailed account of my actions to the police on day one – the same day as the incident – and have cooperated at each step of the police enquiry,” read a statement from Stokes.
“I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name but, on advice, the appropriate time to do this is when the case comes to trial.
“The CPS’ decision to charge me, as well as Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, at least means that my account of what happened that night can come out in court and be made public. Until then, my focus is very much on cricket.”
England cricket bosses have confirmed that they will convene within the coming days to decide on Stokes’s availability to represent his country in light of events.
Stokes has been named in England’s squad for the two-Test series against New Zealand in March but his potential involvement remains subject to legal or disciplinary developments.
He was cleared by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to play for New Zealand side Canterbury in November and has since been given approval to compete in the Indian Premier League.
The incident did, however, cost Stokes, who at the time was Test vice-captain, an Ashes place. He was initially named in the squad to tour Australia but the ECB insisted he would not be considered for international duty until further notice.
A CPS statement read: “A thorough investigation was carried out into the incident by Avon and Somerset Police before a comprehensive file of evidence was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service on 29 November.
“Having carefully considered the evidence, the CPS has today authorised Ben Stokes, 26, of Durham, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, both of Bristol, to each be charged with one count of affray.”