Ryan Hale, a former soldier has accused that Ben Stokes could have killed him during their trial heard on Thursday, as the ex-serviceman was formally cleared of affray. Stokes, Hale and a third man, Ryan Ali, were in Bristol Crown Court on Thursday for the fourth day of their trial for accused affray in the southwest English city on September 25 last year.
After the final statement from the prosecutor, judge Peter Blair told the jury to find Hale not guilty. He said, “I am directing you to find him not guilty in my analysis of the evidence.”
Hale was formally found not guilty and invited to leave the dock. The court has seen security camera footage of Stokes assaulting Hale and Ali in a Bristol street. The prosecution has said Stokes first knocked out Hale, then Ali as well.
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.”
However, Stokes revealed that he had cracked some jokes over clothes with William O’Connor and Kai Barry, two openly gay regulars at the Mbargo club, but then stepped in to defend them when they were subjected to homophobic abuse by Hale and his friend Ali.
The all-rounder explained, “I am very clear that the words being used towards these two gentlemen were about them being gay. I stepped in and said you shouldn’t be saying those things to those two men. I was told by Mr. Ali along the lines of ‘Shut the fuck up or I’ll bottle you’. I remember taking a swing at Mr. Ali. I was protecting myself. I would say that I took a decision of what I did very quickly.”
Replying to the same, Hale said: “There’s no self-defense and he isn’t defending anyone else,” and the case against Stokes and Ali continues.