Joey Barton cleared of assaulting his wife after prosecution blunder

Football manager Joey Barton has been cleared of attacking his wife after the prosecution failed to call her as a witness.

The former Premier League star, 40, was accused of kicking Georgia Barton in the face, leaving her with a bloodied nose and a bump on her head in a late-night incident on June 2 last year.

The Crown Prosecution Service had a 999 call from Mrs Barton, when she claimed her husband “hit me”, and bodyworn footage from police on the night of Barton’s arrest when she alleged she had been “pushed down and kicked about”.

However Mrs Barton was “evasive” and refused to cooperate with the police investigation or give a statement before her husband was charged with assault.

At Wimbledon magistrates court on Monday, District Judge Andrew Sweet stopped the prosecution against Barton, ruling that the CPS failure to take a statement from Mrs Barton had compromised the justice process.

He said the decision not to take a statement or call her as a witness was “at odds” with legal precedents, adding: “I am satisfied Mr Barton would be unable to achieve a fair trial in these circumstances and the proceedings are stayed.”

Joey Barton is accused of assaulting his wife in a drunken row at a property in Kew, southwest London (PA)
Joey Barton is accused of assaulting his wife in a drunken row at a property in Kew, southwest London (PA)

Barton left court without commenting, after being cleared of the charge of assault by beating.

Earlier in the day, police bodyworn footage of his arrest was played in court showing the football manager sleeping heavily as officers entered the bedroom.

They made a series of attempts to wake Barton up before he eventually came round. Barton, wearing just his pants, was still drunk as the duvet was pulled off him by two Met Police officers.

After asking for his trousers, Barton was helped to collect his clothes before being handcuffed and arrested.

The Bristol Rovers manager denied assaulting his wife at the property in Kew, southwest London after a night of heavy drinking.

In the 999 call, Mrs Barton told police: “My husband has just hit me in the house”. When questioned by an officer at the scene, she said she had been left with a bloodied nose after a “disagreement with my husband – over family and stuff”.

“I’ve been pushed down and kicked about and stuff”, she said.

Prosecutor Daniel O’Donoghue told the hearing: “It’s the prosecution’s case that during a drunken argument this defendant assaulted his wife.

“At around 23.14 on June 2, a 999 call was made by the defendant’s wife, Georgia Barton.

“She was audibly upset and shaken. Asked what was her emergency, she said ‘my husband has just hit me in the house’.”

Mr O’Donoghue said Barton did not have a lawyer at the police station as he answered “no comment” to all questions.

Barton’s trial was meant to be heard in March, but was delayed after it emerged Mrs Barton had written to the CPS in support of her husband, denying the assault claim.

That letter had been temporarily lost in the system, the court heard, but the judge said the CPS had failed to take the opportunity at a court hearing when she was present to take a statement from Mrs Barton.

Simon Csoka QC, representing Barton, said the incident happened when the couple, with four friends, had “all had four or five bottles of wine each”.

He said Barton and his wife got into a row and her injuries were “caused accidentally when friends intervened in the argument”.

An application to exclude the 999 call and bodyworn footage from the case was rejected, but the case against Barton was stayed for an abuse of process.

Barton, who lives in Widnes, left court with his wife by his side.