Avon and Somerset police have completed their investigation into the incident involving Ben Stokes outside a Bristol nightclub in September and have passed a file onto the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for advice on whether he should be charged.
The police also confirmed that a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident which occurred outside the Mbargo nightclub in the Clifton area of the city on the evening of England’s one-day international against West Indies on September 25.
Stokes, who arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday, and is awaiting a decision on whether he could play for Canterbury this weekend, was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm then released on bail and has since been made unavailable for international duty.
The CPS decision would normally be expected to take several weeks – perhaps longer – so the latest developments do not add any clarity to Stokes immediate international future and would appear to drastically reduce the chance of him playing a part in the Ashes.
A statement from Avon and Somerset Police read: “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.
“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 an interview.
“Today (29/11), we have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service and are now seeking charging advice.”
To bring charges, the CPS must decide whether it feels sufficient evidence exists for a realistic prospect of conviction and whether a trial was in the public interest.
If the CPS were to decide not to press charges there is still an ECB disciplinary process Stokes would have to go through. In that situation, the full ECB Board would meet within 48 hours to consider how to respond and there have also been suggestions the Cricket Discipline Commission could backdate any suspension to matches he has already missed.
Stokes landed in Christchurch on Wednesday morning and conversations have been had between his representatives and Canterbury about playing domestic cricket in the Ford Trophy and Super Smash T20 competition. Stokes was granted a No Objection Certificate by the ECB last week although that was not made public until he was spotted at Heathrow airport on Monday evening which sparked frenzied speculation that he could be joining the Ashes squad.
He was met by his parents on arriving and did not comment on his potential link-up with Canterbury.