Ben Stokes appears in crown court via video link from New Zealand

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England cricketer Ben Stokes has appeared in court via video link from New Zealand to face an affray charge.

The all-rounder and two other men pleaded not guilty to the charge during a 15-minute hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

Stokes, 26, wearing a grey shirt, said “hi judge” when he was introduced to Judge Peter Blair QC via the video link.

Ben Stokes court case
Ryan Hale (left) and Ryan Ali both appeared in court in person (Ben Birchall/PA)

The two other defendants, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, appeared in person at the court.

Judge Blair set a date of August 6 for the trial, which is expected to last between five and seven days.

“You must be here without fail for that trial,” the judge told Stokes, Ali and Hale.

“You will remain on bail as before.”

The judge ordered the three defendants to provide defence statements by May 22.

He said the court room in which the trial takes place must have CCTV playing facilities.

The case was prosecuted by Lucy Organ, with Gordon Cole QC defending Stokes.

Ali was represented by Giles Nelson, while Michael Hall defended Hale.

Stokes missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England. Without him, England lost the Ashes to Australia 4-0.

England declared Stokes available once more only after he pleaded not guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court in February.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that he would travel to New Zealand to join the squad after the court hearing.

Stokes, Ali and Hale are jointly charged with affray in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol on September 25 last year – several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies.

The charge states that their “conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety”.

A 27-year-old man allegedly suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, at which fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present.

Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol, and Hale, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, will stand trial on August 6.

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