Have the public been allowed to determine Ben Stokes’ fate?

Video footage leaked by The Sun of Ben Stokes throwing punches outside a Bristol nightclub has allowed the public to determine Ben Stoke’s fate, a leading cricket analyst has claimed.

Writing in a post on The Cricket Blog Miles Reucroft points out that the England international has been found guilty by his employees already due to the public outcry, and not by a judge and jury in their role as moral arbiters.

The ECB included Stokes in the Ashes squad and allowed him to retain his role as vice-captain of the side after the news broke of the arrest on Tuesday.

However by Wednesday night, when The Sun newspaper published a video on its website of the incident, their position had completely changed.

Reucroft said: “The video was a game changer, at least in the eyes of the ECB. It shows Stokes, who has clearly lost his head, involved in a violent confrontation in which he repeatedly throws punches at two men. It makes for grim and damning viewing, but the video lacks context – what had prompted such outrage?

“The ECB knew on Tuesday, when they met to select their Ashes squad, that Stokes had been involved in a fight and had been arrested. They selected him. The ECB knew on Thursday, after the squad had been announced, that Stokes had been involved in a fight and had been arrested. They suspended him.

“What had changed? That video. In a world where everyone has a video camera in their pocket, evidence emerges in the public domain before any trial can be conducted, which condemns the accused before the proper process can be played out.

“That’s not to condone Stokes’s conduct nor condemn The Sun, but Stokes has been found guilty by his employers already. His fate should be decided by a judge and jury in their role as moral arbiters, not by the general public and the ECB. Once justice has played out, then it should be up to the ECB to decide what to do with Stokes.”

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