England all-rounder Ben Stokes has told a court he was acting in self-defence when he allegedly assaulted a man outside a Bristol nightclub last year.
- Ben Stokes said he was defending his friends, claiming man he punched was harassing them for "being gay"
- Prosecution alleged Stokes was taunting couple outside nightclub to which he had been refused access
- Alleged assault led to Stokes missing 2017-18 Ashes tour of Australia
Stokes, 27, gave evidence for the first time in the trial at Bristol Crown Court, repeating comments that were picked up by police body-camera footage filmed in the aftermath of the incident.
The video footage shows Stokes complying with police officers after they were called to the disturbance in Bristol on September 25.
After putting Stokes in handcuffs, the police officer explains that Stokes is being arrested because, "there is a guy…covered in blood and I've been told you punched him."
"Because he was abusing my two friends for being gay,"Stokes replied.
Another man comes into shot and argues with the officer as to whether an ambulance has been called to assist with the injured person.
Stokes then attempts to find his ID to show the officer, before asking whether there are any cameras showing the incident.
When the officer replies in the affirmative, Stokes replies: "There will be? Sweet."
In court on Thursday [UK time], Stokes said he acted to defend two gay men who were being harassed by two other men who were shouting homophobic comments.
"I stepped in and said 'you shouldn't be saying these things to these two men'," he told the court in remarks reported by the BBC.
The prosecution allege Stokes was himself taunting the couple outside a nightclub to which he had been refused access.
The incident, which happened in September after England played in the southwest city of Bristol, led to Stokes missing the 2017-18 Ashes series, and will see him miss England's second Test against India at Lord's as he contests the affray charge.
Stokes and the man he is alleged to have attacked, Ryan Ali, both deny affray. The trial continues.