Jury in Ben Stokes affray trial will retire to consider verdict today

Jurors in the trial of Ben Stokes and Ryan Ali at Bristol Crown Court will retire to consider their verdict this morning.

Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 7:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 7:53 am
England cricketer Ben Stokes leaves Bristol Crown Court with his wife Clare, where he is on trial accused of affray. Pic: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

The Durham and England cricketer is on trial at Bristol Crown Court over a fracas outside a nightclub in the city on September 25 last year.

The 27-year-old all-rounder insisted he intervened to stop Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, from abusing gay men William O'Connor and Kai Barry.

Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, provided a "route to verdict" document to the jury, detailing the questions they must answer.

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- Question 1

Did Benjamin Stokes and/or Ryan Aslam Ali use or threaten violence towards another person?

Note: You must consider each defendant one-by-one, examining the evidence for and against each of them separately.

If your answer is "Yes, I'm sure he did", go to Question 2(a).

If your answer is "No, or he may not have done", NOT GUILTY.

- Question 2(a)

Did he genuinely believe that it was necessary to use or threaten that violence so as to defend himself and/or another?

Note: It is not unlawful to use reasonable force to defend yourself and/or another person. The first step is to consider whether the defendant genuinely may have believed he needed to use or threaten violence so as to defend himself or another.

If he genuinely did believe that, or he may have done, then go to Question 2(b).

If, on the other hand, you are sure that he did not genuinely believe he needed to use or threaten violence at all, then the prosecution will have proved that he acted unlawfully and you must go on to Question 3.

- Question 2(b)

Was the force he used or threatened "reasonable" in the circumstances as he perceived them to be?

Note: Only the use of reasonable force can be lawful; a person may not use more force than is reasonably necessary so as to defend himself or another against the threat which he genuinely anticipated.

Obviously, a person who genuinely thinks he or another is about to be attacked may react on the spur of the moment. He cannot realistically be expected to weigh up precisely how much force he needs to use to defend himself or that other person.

If he has only done what he honestly and instinctively thought was necessary, then that would be strong evidence that it was reasonable.

On the other hand, if he "goes over the top" - using force out of all proportion to what he genuinely anticipated might happen to him or another - then that would be unreasonable.

If your answer is "No, I'm sure it wasn't", go to Question 3.

If your answer is "Yes, or it may have been", NOT GUILTY.

- Question 3

Was the conduct of all of them, taken together, such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety?

If your answer is "Yes, I'm sure it was", GUILTY.

If your answer is "No, or it may not have", NOT GUILTY.