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Thursday 30th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Now up to CPS to decide if England star should face charges

DETECTIVES investigating an incident outside a Bristol nightclub involving England all-rounder Ben Stokes have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on charging, Avon and Somerset Police said yesterday.

The all-rounder, who was dropped from the England squad and suspended from playing for his country following his arrest on September 25, is currently in New Zealand where he was hoping to play in a domestic competition this weekend.

It remains unclear whether the Crown Prosecution Service will now decide to charge Stokes and if the 26-year-old will be able to play any part in England's Ashes series against Australia.

Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm, with the England and Wales Cricket Board set to conduct their own disciplinary inquiry once the police investigation is concluded.

An Avon and Somerset Police statement 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 on Monday September 25.

“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 we have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service and are now seeking charging advice."

Stokes was initially named in England's 16-man squad to tour Australia but was removed once the ECB had looked into the Bristol incident.

England crashed to a 10-wicket defeat to Australia in the Ashes opener in Brisbane. With the second Test starting in Adelaide on Saturday, the very earliest Stokes could possibly return would be for the third Test in Perth, which begins on December 14.

For that to happen, there would need to be a decision not to charge Stokes, which would bring the police investigation to a conclusion. The ECB’s cricket discipline commission would then have to backdate any suspension.

For now, Stokes is hoping to play for Canterbury Kings in a 50-over Ford Trophy clash against Otago Volts on Sunday, although nothing has been finalised yet.

nWorcestershire’s Alex Hepburn has been charged with raping a woman after an investigation by West Mercia Police.

The county said the all-rounder has been suspended on full pay after being charged with two counts of rape alleged to have been committed on Saturday April 1 this year.