England cricket player Ben Stokes has gone on trial in the case which caused him to miss the Ashes series whitewash by Australia.
The 27-year-old allrounder and two other men, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, are jointly charged with affray in Bristol on September 25 last year - several hours after England had played an ODI against the West Indies in the city.
All deny the charge, which states that their "conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety", contrary to section 3 (1) and (7) of the Public Order Act 1986.
A 27-year-old man allegedly suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, at which fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present. The trial before Judge Peter Blair QC is expected to last between five and seven days.
While he was suspended for the Ashes series, Stokes has since played in the test series against New Zealand and Pakistan, and last week starred as England beat India in the first test at Edgbaston. Stokes, Ali, and Hale are on bail. Stokes' place in the England test squad for the second match of the series has gone to allrounder Chris Woakes.
Batsman Dawid Malan has paid the price for his poor run of scores for England by being dropped for the test starting on Thursday, with the uncapped 20-year-old Ollie Pope called up as a replacement.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.