Bristol Rovers head Joey Barton was acquitted of assaulting his wife after a judge ruled he could not have a fair trial because prosecutors would not call the alleged victim to testify.
Ex Major league The midfielder, 40, was accused of pushing Georgia Barton, 36, to the floor before kicking her during a drunken row at their home in Cuesouth-west London June 2 last year.
Mrs Barton, who is said to have been left with a bruise the size of a golf ball on her forehead and a nosebleed, was “visibly upset and shaken” when she dialed 999 shortly before 11.15pm, Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court heard.
“My husband just hit me in the house,” she said, telling the operator she had a “bleeding nose” after Barton punched her “right in the face” before officers arrived on the scene within 25 minutes. .
In footage played in court, Mrs Barton said: “I was being pushed and kicked and stuff.”
The officer noticed “a little lump and a bit of blood”, while speaking to a female officer in the utility room about five minutes later, Mrs Barton said her husband “just went crazy” and “threw me down”.
“He was kicking me,” she said, adding, holding an ice pack to her head, that the alleged attack came “out of the blue.”
“I just want him removed from the premises,” she said.
Prosecutor Daniel O’Donoghue said footage of Barton’s arrest showed he was “clearly intoxicated”.
He is seen in bed wearing nothing but his boxers when he is woken up by the police and then slowly pulled into shorts, a collared T-shirt and socks.
Barton, who played for the likes of Manchester City, Newcastle, Queens Park Rangers and Marseille as well as playing for England in 2007, denied assault by beating.
His wife refused to give written witness statements, but wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service ahead of the expected trial in March.
During a preliminary legal argument, the court heard that Mrs Barton had written a letter to prosecutors claiming she and her husband drank “about four to five bottles of wine each” with two other couples.
She said she wasn’t sure what she told police was entirely accurate, and explained that she was injured accidentally when friends intervened in an argument.
Prosecutors said the account was an attempt to “exonerate” her husband, and yet chose not to interview her or call her to testify.
Mr O’Donoghue said on Monday: “The prosecution say she will not be a credible witness and have put forward an exculpatory account to help Mr Barton and undermine the comments made on the night, which we say are very clear in the video . .”
However, District Judge Andrew Sweet said the CPS could compel Mrs Barton to give evidence or treat her as a hostile witness.
“I am satisfied that the Crown’s position not to take statements or call Mrs Barton is contrary to case law,” he said.
“I am satisfied that Mr Barton would not have been able to obtain a fair trial in the circumstances and the proceedings are adjourned.”
A spokeswoman for the CPS said: “We are considering the judge’s comments and will reconsider our position.”
Barton, dressed in black, fled the court after being discharged before leaving with his wife, who was wearing a pink trouser suit.
He began his managerial career at Fleetwood Town from 2018 to 2021 before joining League One side Bristol Rovers last year.
Last December, a jury at Sheffield Crown Court cleared Barton of assaulting then Barnsley manager Daniel Standel, which left him bloodied and with a broken tooth, after a League One match between his team Fleetwood and the South Yorkshire side at Oakwell on April 13. 2019 year.