A GROUP of men have appeared in court following a brawl in the middle of Braintree town centre.

Franklin Avitabile, James Branagh, Connor Chambers, John Chambers, Stephen Chambers and Tommy Gilbert all denied a charge of violent disorder during a short hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court earlier this week.

The men were charged by Essex Police in connection with a disturbance in Market Place on Saturday, January 5.

A brawl is alleged to have broken out near to the Tesco supermarket.

The incident saw a 19-year-old rushed to hospital with life-changing injuries after he was stabbed in the hand with a knife.

Gilbert, 21, of Rana Drive, Braintree, also denied a charge of possession of a knife in a public place in connection with the disturbance. He was remanded in custody after Monday’s hearing.

Connor Chambers, of Baddow Road, Chelmsford, meanwhile admitted a separate charge of possessing class A drugs. He remains on unconditional bail.

John Chambers, 52, of Mill Park Drive, Braintree, James Branagh, 39, of Crittall Road, Witham, Franklin Avitabile, 22, of Alpha Close, Braintree, and Stephen Chambers, 49, of Chelmer Road, Braintree, will also remain on unconditional bail.

The six men will next appear in court for trial which has been listed for March 2020.

It is expected to take between five and six weeks.

Two other men will also stand trial in connection with the incident.

Ryan Walsh, 20, of Churchill Road, Braintree, and Leroy Moran, 22, of Coldnailhurst Avenue, Braintree, have both been charged with possession of a knife in a public place and a charge of violent disorder.

The duo denied the offences when they appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court last week.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of two other men charged in connection with the disturbance.

Michael McDonagh, 23, of High Road, Wood Green, and Yasir Ahmed, 20, of Nottage Crescent, Braintree, are both required to answer charges of possession of a knife in a public place and violent disorder. Ahmed is also accused of possessing heroin.