Joey Barton agrees to pay Jeremy Vine £75,000 in damages

Former footballer apologises  for the “distress” caused

Former footballer Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine and agreed to pay him £75,000 in damages after a High Court judge ruled comments he made on social media were defamatory.

Mr Barton said in a statement on Tuesday (18 June) that he apologised “for the distress” Mr Vine has suffered.

In his statement, which he posted on X, Mr Barton wrote:

“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.

“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.”

Joey Barton, former England international, who played for Machester City and then went on to manage Bristol Rovers, had called Jeremy Vine a “bike nonce” and “pedo defender”.

Image: Jeremy Vine riding his Penny Farthing bicycle 

Result is “not final outcome” says Jeremy Vine

Mr Vine’s barrister, Gervase de Wilde, told the court the abuse began after Mr Vine responded to one post in which Mr Barton compared football pundits Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward to serial killers Fred and Rose West.

The footballer’s lawyer, William McCormick KC, contended his client’s posts constituted “mere vulgar abuse”, conveying no defamatory meaning. He argued they had been posted in the heat of the moment and that calling him a “bike nonce” was an “obvious attempt at humorous abuse of Mr Vine”.

But the judge ruled his comments were defamatory.

Responding to the news on X, Jeremy Vine said:

“The news of Joey Barton’s apology and commitment to pay damages and costs is not the final outcome of this case.

“After five defamatory tweets, my lawyer offered Barton a chance to settle: pay £75k, plus my costs, and make an apology.  He ignored that offer and posted more disgusting tweets about me, even publishing my home address to his followers.

“When I then took my case to the High Court, a judge ruled that TEN of the tweets I complained of were defamatory. Having lost, Barton has returned to the offer we made after tweet 5.

“There has therefore been a parallel action on tweets 6-10 and Barton will pay further damages for these. A number of other steps — including statements made in Court by way of apology — are still to be taken, and Barton has agreed to pay my legal costs of all of the claims.”

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