Joey Barton to pay Jeremy Vine £75,000 to settle High Court libel claim

Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine and agreed to pay the broadcaster £75,000 in damages to settle a High Court libel claim.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Barton said the allegations he made against Mr Vine, including calling him a “bike nonce”, were “untrue”.

Mr Vine had sued Mr Barton for libel and harassment over 14 online posts, including where he called Mr Vine a “big bike nonce” and a “pedo defender” on X.

A High Court judge ruled last month that 11 of the posts could defame Mr Vine.

In a statement, Mr Barton said: “Between 8 and 12 January 2024 I published 11 posts which accused Jeremy Vine of having a sexual interest in children, and created a hashtag which made the same allegations, which were viewed millions of times.

“I recognise that this is a very serious allegation. It is untrue. I do not believe that Mr Vine has a sexual interest in children, and I wish to set the record straight.

“I also published posts during the same period in which I referred to Mr Vine having advocated forced vaccination during the Covid 19 pandemic, based upon a video clip of his TV programme.

“I accept that he did not advocate this policy and that the video clip has been edited to give a misleading impression of what he was in fact saying.

“I then taunted and abused Mr Vine for bringing a legal complaint against me. I have agreed not to make the same allegations again about Mr Vine and I apologise to him for the distress he has suffered.

Joey Barton court case
Jeremy Vine arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the hearing in May (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“To resolve his claims against me in defamation and harassment, I have agreed to pay Mr Vine £75,000 in damages and his legal costs.”

Lawyers for Mr Vine told a hearing in London on May 9 that Mr Barton posted several abusive tweets about the broadcaster in early January this year in a “calculated and sustained attack”.

Mr Barton, who played for teams including Manchester City, Newcastle United, Rangers, and French side Marseille during his career, also began using “#bikenonce” on X, which led to it trending on the platform, the court was told.

Gervase de Wilde, representing Mr Vine, said that the posts contained “clear references to (Mr Vine) having a sexual interest in children” and that the word “nonce” had “an irreducible, defamatory meaning”.

William McCormick KC, for Mr Barton, said at the earlier hearing that the posts contained “vulgar abuse” but did not libel Mr Vine, and represented “someone who is posting in the heat of the moment”.

But Mrs Justice Steyn ruled that 11 of the posts could defame Mr Vine, saying the word “nonce” was used to allege that Mr Vine “has a sexual interest in children” and that the use of the word “bike” was “a meaningless aspect of the accusation”.

Discussing one post which included the phrase “bike nonce”, the judge said: “In my judgment, the hypothetical ordinary reasonable reader would understand the post as taunting, scorning and ridiculing the claimant for his alleged proclivity.

“The jocular tone might be seen by the ordinary reasonable reader as in bad taste, given the subject matter, but it would not lead them to understand that no allegation of having a sexual interest in children was seriously being made.

“Nor would the reader perceive it as meaningless abuse ‘shouted’ in the heat of the moment, as there is nothing in the post that would give that impression.”