As the tickets go, it was one of the most important in the life of Ben Stokes. Shortly after 12:30 p.m. On Thursday, while his teammates from England waited for it to rain on Lord & s, the SUV took a short walk, not through the Long Room, but up to the stand at the Bristol Crown Court.
For the first time, on the fourth day of his widely publicized trial for a scuffle, Stokes had the opportunity to explain in detail what happened in the fight that took place last September.
Not only did he want to convince the jury, but the ECB communications director, Chris Haynes, had also returned to court and listened carefully throughout the process.
Ben Stokes arrives at the Bristol Crown Court on Thursday morning before the fourth day of his trial
During his time in the witness office, Stokes showed a shyness we have rarely seen in him.
During his time in the witness box, which spanned just under three hours, Stokes showed a shyness we have rarely seen in him.
In fact, he relied more on the defensive front than on the fold, rejecting the questions with a simple "yes" or "no" whenever possible and drinking his water to calm his apparent nerves.
In total, he was asked more than 200 questions, and only one surprised him.
When asked if he was "furious" during the night in question, he told the jury: "It seems to me a difficult question to answer."
Sometimes, their answers were preceded by a "umm & # 39; or a & # 39; urr & # 39 ;, and he looked grimacing with pain for standing for long periods, but there were also moments of lightness and humor.
Stokes went to court with his wife Clare before presenting evidence in the witness's mailbox
In fact, he smiled wryly when the "bright white" coaches he wore on the September night occurred in court and were introduced to the judge.
When asked to tell the jury about the special feature they had, he replied: "Golden padlock on the back" before adding: "I like them". "Many of my teammates tell me that I dress the worst of the team," Stokes said, "I'm used to it."
In contrast to the torn black jeans and green shirt he had worn that night, Stokes wore a dark blue suit, white shirt and bright blue tie for his court appearance on Thursday.
As it has been throughout the week, Stokes was flanked by his wife, Clare, and his agent, Neil Fairbrother. Haynes and a lawyer from law firm Onside Law formed the first row of the public gallery in court one.
Stokes, the talisman of the England team, repeated several times during his evidence that he was defending himself, his teammate in England Alex Hales and two gay men, Kai Barry and William O & # 39; Connor, in the fight outside of a Bristol's nightclub in the early hours of September 25, 2017.
"Many teammates tell me that I dress the worst on the team," Stokes said.
He told the jury that the fight began when he heard the "homophobic" abuse directed against the gay couple of his co-defendant Ryan Ali and former soldier Ryan Hale, who was acquitted on Thursday before Stokes gave evidence.
Judge Peter Blair QC ordered the jury to declare Hale innocent of the fray after his analysis of the evidence.
When asked if he had been homophobic with Mr. Barry and Mr. O & # 39; Connor, Stokes said: "No, definitely not."
Pictures of him handcuffed in the back of a police car were shown, apparently talking something to Hales.
Asked what he could remember by telling the 29-year-old, whom he described as a "friend," Stokes told the jury: "I was trying to tell you," go away, get out of here, do not get involved. I'm the one in the police car. "He added that he thought the exact words he was saying were:" It's because of me. "
Stokes will remain even longer in the witness box on Friday, and it is likely that the challenge he faces will increase significantly when faced with an interrogation by the prosecution.
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