Stokes ‘could have killed me’, court told
RYAN Hale, a former soldier allegedly knocked out by Ben Stokes, said the England cricketer "could have killed me", their trial heard on Thursday, local time.
It came on the same day ex-serviceman Hale was formally cleared of affray.
Stokes, Hale and a third man, Ryan Ali, were in Bristol Crown Court for the fourth day of their trial for alleged affray in the southwest English city on September 25 last year.
After the prosecution concluded its case against the three men, judge Peter Blair told the jury to find Hale not guilty.
"I am directing you to find him not guilty in my analysis of the evidence," Blair said.
Hale, 28, was formally found not guilty and invited to leave the dock.
The court has seen security camera footage of Stokes, 27, brawling with Hale and Ali in a Bristol street.
The prosecution alleged Stokes first knocked out Hale, then 27-year-old Ali.
On Thursday, jurors heard that Hale told police in a formal interview: "I'm a dad. He could have killed me. I don't know why he didn't stop.
"He could have beaten the living hell out of me. It's shocking to see someone doing that to someone who didn't do anything wrong."
Stokes told the court on Thursday that he had traded jokes over clothes with William O'Connor and Kai Barry, two openly gay regulars, at the Mbargo club.
The cricketer denied claims he mocked the two men and flicked a cigarette butt at them. He insisted he had instead stepped in to protect Barry and O'Connor after hearing Hale and Ali, who had a glass beer bottle, shout homophobic abuse at them.
"Mr Hale and Mr Ali were shouting homophobic comments towards these two and in return Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry were going back to them," Stokes told the jury.
"They weren't obviously going to let them say what they were saying. I stepped in. (I said) 'You shouldn't take the piss because they are gay.' "I was told by Mr Ali along the lines of 'Shut the f--- up or I will bottle you.'
"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.
Hale said of Stokes: "There's no self-defence and he isn't defending anyone else.
The court heard Stokes was in Bristol at the time of the incident, having played a one-day international against the West Indies.
Under direction from his barrister, Gordon Cole QC, Stokes held up his hands and showed the jury injuries sustained from playing his sport.
The cricketer said he consumed about three or four pints of lager and five or six vodka and lemonades on the evening.
However, they were refused entry by Mbargo door supervisor Andrew Cunningham as it was after 2am.
Stokes said the cricketers offered Cunningham about £60 or £70 ($A104 or $A120) to get them into the club, which was turned down.
"I said to him, 'Come on mate, I've got s--- tattoos as well, let us back in,'" he told the court.
"I am constantly getting told by teammates and by who I play with that I have got s--- tattoos."
He denied making a V-sign to Cunningham, calling him a c--- or mentioning his four gold front teeth.
The case against Stokes and Ali continues.
LIVE Stream the England v India Test Series on FOX SPORTS. SIGN UP NOW >