England cricketer Ben Stokes has been charged with affray after reportedly defending two gay men from a homophobic attack.
The 26-year-old was arrested by police in September on suspicion of actual bodily harm following an incident in the early hours of September 25 outside Mbargo nightclub in Bristol.
Sources claim Stokes stepped in to defend Kai Berry, 26, and Billy O’Connell, 20, after a group of men allegedly began calling the gay men “batty boys” and confronted them outside the club.
Stokes was set to travel with the England squad to Australia for the Ashes but was suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
He was charged with affray on Monday (January 15) by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The cricketer released a statement on Twitter yesterday (January 15) in which he vows to clear his name.
He wrote: “I want to thank all those who have continued to support me in relation to the Bristol incident, not least my family, friends, fans and teammates.
My statement on Bristol ⤵️…🏏 pic.twitter.com/xSStYeWPbJ
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) January 15, 2018
“I gave a 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 inquiry.
“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.”
He added: “Until then, my focus is very much on cricket.”
According to The Guardian, the ECB will gold a board meeting in the following days to discuss whether Stokes will be allowed to represent England.
Stokes is one of the three men scheduled to appear at Bristol magistrates’ court at a later day.