As innings go, it was some of the essential in Ben Stokes’s life. Shortly after 12:30pm on Thursday, whereas his England teammates waited for the rain to clear at Lord’s, the all-rounder took a brief stroll, not by means of the Lengthy Room however to the stand at Bristol Crown Courtroom.
For the primary time, on day 4 of his extensively publicised trial for affray, Stokes had the prospect to clarify in minute element what occurred within the brawl that befell final September.
Not solely was he out to persuade the jury, however the ECB’s director of communications Chris Haynes had additionally returned to court docket and listened intently all through.
Ben Stokes arrives at Bristol Crown Courtroom on Thursday morning forward of day 4 of his trial
Throughout his time within the witness field Stokes displayed a sheepishness we’ve got not often seen in him
Throughout his time within the witness field, which spanned slightly below three hours, Stokes displayed a sheepishness we’ve got not often seen in him.
Certainly, he relied extra on the ahead defensive than he does on the crease, batting away questions with a easy ‘sure’ or ‘no’ wherever doable and sipping at his water to calm his obvious nerves.
In whole, he was requested greater than 200 questions, and was stumped by only one.
When requested if he was ‘enraged’ in any respect throughout the night in query, he advised the jury: ‘I discover it a troublesome query to reply.’
At occasions his solutions had been prefaced with an ‘umm’ or an ‘urr’, and he was seen wincing with ache in his again from standing for lengthy durations — however there have been additionally moments of lightness and humour.
Stokes headed into court docket along with his spouse Clare earlier than he gave proof from the witness field
Certainly, he gave a wry smile when the ‘vibrant white hi-top’ trainers he wore on the September night had been produced in court docket and held up for the choose.
When requested to inform the jury in regards to the particular function that they had, he replied: ‘Gold padlock on the again,’ earlier than including: ‘I like them.’ ‘I get advised from numerous team-mates that I gown the worst within the crew,’ Stokes stated, ‘I am used to it.’
In distinction to the ripped black denims and inexperienced T-shirt he had worn that night time, Stokes wore a darkish blue swimsuit, white shirt and vibrant blue tie for his look in court docket on Thursday.
As he has been all through this week, Stokes was flanked by his spouse, Clare, and his agent, Neil Fairbrother. Haynes and a lawyer from authorized agency Onside Regulation made up the entrance row of the general public gallery in courtroom one.
Stokes, the talisman of the England crew, repeated on a number of events throughout his proof that he was defending himself, England team-mate Alex Hales and two homosexual males, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, within the brawl outdoors a Bristol nightclub within the early hours of September 25, 2017.
‘I get advised from numerous team-mates that I gown the worst within the crew,’ Stokes stated
He advised the jury that the battle started when he heard ‘homophobic’ abuse being focused on the homosexual couple from his co-defendant Ryan Ali and former soldier Ryan Hale, who was acquitted on Thursday earlier than Stokes gave proof.
Decide Peter Blair QC instructed the jury to seek out Hale not responsible of affray following his evaluation of the proof.
When requested if he had been homophobic in direction of Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor, Stokes stated: ‘No, undoubtedly not.’
Footage was proven of him in handcuffs behind a police automotive, apparently mouthing one thing to Hales.
Requested what he may recall saying to the 29-year-old, who he described as a ‘pal’, Stokes advised the jury: ‘I used to be making an attempt to inform him, “Depart, get out of right here, do not become involved. I am the one within the police automotive”.’ He added that he thought the precise phrases he was saying had been: ‘It is on me.’
Stokes will endure but extra time within the witness field on Friday, and the problem he faces is more likely to ramp up considerably when he faces cross-examination from the prosecution.