Ben Stokes appears in crown court via video link from New Zealand

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The England all-rounder appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Monday via video link from New Zealand, where the worldwide cricket team are now based for their ongoing series with the Black Caps. All three defendants deny the charges.

Stokes missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England.

The trial is set for August 6, which effectively rules the all-rounder out of England's Test match against India three days later.

Mr Stokes, Mr Hale and Mr Ali were detained early on 25 September following a disturbance in the Clifton Triangle area of the city - several hours after England had played a one-day worldwide against the West Indies. The first of five Tests starts in Birmingham on August 1.

The dry nature of proceedings was alleviated briefly when Stokes responded to the formal introduction to His Honour Judge Blair QC, The Recorder of Bristol, by replying "Hi, Judge".

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"You must be here without fail for that trial", the judge told Stokes, Ali and Hale.

The co-accused, 28-year-old Ryan Ali and 26-year-old Ryan Hale, also entered not-guilty pleas on the grounds of "self-defence and defence of another". "You will remain on bail as before".

Durham's Stokes returned to the England set-up after being released on bail, featuring in the one-day global series in New Zealand that the tourists won 3-2.

The legal definition of the term affray says: A fight between two or more persons in a public place so as to cause terror to the public.

Stokes and Hales will also face an European Central Bank disciplinary hearing once the criminal proceedings have concluded.

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