Ben Stokes’ chances of joining Ashes squad take major setback
Police have passed file onto CPS, delaying the chances of Stokes being cleared of assault
English cricketer Ben Stokes arrives at Christchurch Airport in New Zealand. Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images
Ben Stokes’s chances of making a dramatic comeback to England’s Ashes squad appeared to suffer a setback on Wednesday when police confirmed they would be referring his assault case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Stokes has been unavailable for England selection following his arrest on September 25th after a late night incident in Bristol.
Earlier this week the all-rounder flew to New Zealand in the hope of getting in shape to give himself the best possible chance of making a return for the third Test at Perth in mid-December providing both the legal case and any cricket punishment went his way.
However, any hopes that Stokes had that his case would be dropped by the police ended when they decided to pass it to the CPS to seek charging advice after stating that the incident in Bristol left a man with a fractured eye socket.
While it is has not been indicated how long this might take, when the Guardian spoke to a criminal solicitor with nearly two decades of experience, he said that while such decisions normally take several weeks to go through the system, Stokes could be fast-tracked in one or two weeks as a high-profile case.
Although the decision whether to charge Stokes will rest with the CPS, the conclusion of the police investigation is a setback as the player’s case has moved to the next stage when the police could have decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed.
In a statement the Avon & Somerset police explained their decision. “We’re now in a position to provide an update on our investigation into a disorder in Bristol which happened during the early hours of Monday, 25 September,” it said.
“A 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident on Queens Road, Clifton. A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and was later released under investigation.
“Three other men, aged 26, 27 and 28 have all voluntarily attended police stations for interview. Today (29/11), we have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service and are now seeking charging advice.” – Guardian service