Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have been charged by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) with bringing the game into disrepute for their parts in the brawl that took place outside a Bristol nightclub last September.
They will attend a private hearing in front of a three-man CDC panel, chaired by former Derbyshire batsman Tim O’Gorman, on December 5 and 7. The other members of the panel are Chris Tickle, a former employment tribunal judge, and Mike Smith.
Each player has been charged with two counts of breaching ECB directive 3.3 which states: “No Participant may conduct themself in a manner or do any act or omission at any time which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any Cricketer or group of Cricketers into disrepute.”
The hearing has been scheduled between England’s two overseas tours – Sri Lanka and West Indies – which means that Stokes and Hales remain available for the Sri Lanka tour. However, the panel could hand down bans to either or both players so it remains to be seen what their availability is beyond that.
Stokes was found not guilty of affray at Bristol Crown Court last month following a week-long trial. Having missed the Lord’s Test against India he was then immediately made available for England again and played the remaining three matches. Following the brawl he missed the end of last year’s ODI series against West Indies and the full tour of Australia before returning against New Zealand.
Hales, who only missed two ODIs against West Indies, was not arrested at the time of the incident outside Mbargo nightclub and was not on trial, although his name came up regularly during the trial when his role in the events was brought into question by Stokes’ lawyer who raised the possibility that the injuries sustained by Ryan Ali could have been caused by Hales.
“You’ll see Mr Hales both stamp and, on one occasion, he appears to kick,” Stokes’ barrister Gordon Cole said. “You know of injuries that were sustained.
“Sustained, perhaps, by Alex Hales’s intervention? Blows, kicks or stamps to the head area. Does it follow, as a reasonable inference, that all of those injuries are properly attributed to Mr Stokes? We say, no, the evidence is ambiguous.
“You’ve seen the kick that seems to be administered by Mr Hales that appears to have knocked the head of Mr Ali around. You’ve been shown the stills. He was clearly, you may think, kicked to the head.
“If that is right, is it fair to attribute any injury to Mr Stokes?”
There was also police bodycam footage shown to the jury in which Hales claimed he had only arrived on the scene after the fight.
More to follow
Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1159905.html?CMP=OTC-RSS