Newcastle’s midfielder Joey Barton, using crutches, pleaded not guilty today to assaulting his former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo when he appeared before Trafford Magistrates Court.
Barton spoke only to confirm his name and address and to enter a plea and the brief hearing lasted just 10 minutes.
Joey Barton – pleads not guilty to assault
The 24 year-old Barton is accused of attacking Dabo at City’s Carrington training ground on May 1st and was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm last week. He was again given unconditional bail and ordered to appear back at Trafford Magistrates’ Court in Manchester on October 4 at 9.30am. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail if he is found guilty.
Barton was suspended by his club after the incident, and sold to Newcastle in June in a Â£5.8M deal. He is recovering from injury after fracturing a metatarsal in his left foot during a pre-season friendly last month against Carlisle United and will be out at least another 3-4 weeks. Prosecuting, David Alcock described the incident as a ‘vicious attack’.
We would hope for the sake of the club and Barton himself, and for that matter everybody else involved in the case, that this doesn’t stretch out too long. If Barton has done wrong and is found guilty then he will need to face his punishment, whatever that may be.
In the worst case scenario, if he is found guilty and sent to jail, we have no idea what the reaction of the club would be. When Sam signed Joey he had not been charged with assault, although everybody was aware of the delicate situation. Obviously, this is now a serious charge and we trust Joey gets a fair hearing.
As far as the club is concerned don’t be surprised if Newcastle sign another central midfielder as a contingency plan in case the worst happens.