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By ESPN Staff
May 20, 2008

Newcastle's Barton jailed for assault and affray

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) - Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton was jailed on Tuesday for six months after admitting to beating up a teenager during a night out.

The sentence was handed down at Liverpool Crown Court, where the 25-year-old admitted charges of affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, stemming from an early morning fight in Liverpool in December.

Premier League Newcastle issued a short statement on their website although it remains to be seen how they will deal with Barton's latest setback.

'Newcastle United notes the sentence passed to Joey Barton at Liverpool Crown Court today,' the statement said.

'The club is considering the verdict and will make no further comment at this stage.'

Barton's brother, Andrew Barton, also admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and a third defendant, Nadine Wilson, 27, pleaded guilty to affray and common assault.

Barton had pleaded guilty last month but the court initially imposed an order preventing details being published after the player's lawyers argued it could prejudice a jury in a separate assault trial he faces in Manchester.

The court lifted the reporting restrictions on Tuesday after hearing arguments from media organisations that information about Barton's history of bad behaviour was in the public domain.

In the Manchester case, he is due to stand trial accused of assaulting his former Manchester City team mate Ousmane Dabo in a training ground incident in May last year that effectively ended his career with the club. He has pleaded not guilty.

Barton, who has one England cap, joined Newcastle United for £5.8 million ($11.33 million) in July 2007.

Despite Barton's chequered career, Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) boss Gordon Taylor said he would receive the support of the players' union.

'We shall continue to do all we can to help him get his life back on track,' Taylor told BBC Radio Five Live.

'We won't give up hope. I hope this can prove a catalyst in Joey Barton's life and his career because he does have ability but does have demons regarding alcohol and anger management.' (Additional reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris and Sonia Oxley)

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