I posted a small piece on the Ben Stokes trial when it started. The trial is over and Ben Stokes has been cleared of affray. I am not a legal expert. I will do my best to use the right words. The reason I am stating this at the onset is that I have found most lawyers in general to be extremely good in twisting words and drawing out inferences where none exist.
Now that most of the evidence is out in public and the trial is over these are my thoughts on it.
1) The initial charge by the police for which Ben Stokes was arrested was for assault and not affray. The statement by the CPS can be found below.
Do not get me wrong. I am happy that Ben Stokes is free. The question though is the motive. The three stage process (given below) which had to be followed by the jury is clear cut and stringent.
(image courtesy of Tristan Kirk)
2) No reason has been given why the case was held at the Crown Court which has a harsher punishment than the magistrates courts.
3) The CPS tried to unsuccessfully add other charges during the trial.
4) Alex Hales seems to have taken part in the incident but was not charged.
5) I have not seen any evidence that suggests that Stokes or Hales were drunk to the point where they could claim that they were intoxicated to the point where they were not responsible for their actions. The police video clearly shows that Stokes was completely aware of where his things were and was concerned about the welfare of his companions.
From what I have seen I believe that the jury were right to find Stokes innocent of affray as I do not think there were sufficient grounds to for that case to stick. I am glad that Stokes is legally in the clear. What the ECB is going to do with Hales and him is another issue and will be handled as an internal matter. My gut feeling is that Alex Hales is going to get the short end of the stick as there is a good possibility that if any punishment is levied then the chances of Stokes serving his time because of the number of games he missed is more likely than Hales. The selectors will have some very tough calls to make. That topic deserves it’s own post.