Barton apology and damages ‘not final outcome’ of libel case, says Jeremy Vine

Jeremy Vine has said that Joey Barton agreeing to pay £75,000 in damages in their High Court libel claim “is not the final outcome” of the case.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, Mr Barton said the allegations he made against Mr Vine, including calling him a “bike nonce”, were “untrue”.

The former footballer apologised and said he would pay the five-figure sum in damages, as well as Mr Vine’s legal costs.

Mr Vine had sued Mr Barton for libel and harassment over 14 online posts, including where he called Mr Vine a “big bike nonce” and a “pedo defender” on X.

In a statement on the same platform later on Tuesday, Mr Vine said Mr Barton “will pay further damages” and that more steps – including apologies in court – are due to be taken.

He 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.”

The broadcaster continued: “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.”

In his statement earlier on Tuesday, Mr Barton said he had “taunted and abused” Mr Vine for bringing the legal action.

He said on X: “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.”

He continued: “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.”

Lawyers for Mr Vine told a hearing in London on May 9 that Mr Barton posted several abusive tweets about the broadcaster in early January this year in a “calculated and sustained attack”.

Joey Barton
Joey Barton (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Mr Barton – who played for teams including Manchester City, Newcastle United, Rangers, and French side Marseille during his career – also began using “#bikenonce” on X, which led to it trending on the platform, the court was told.

Mrs Justice Steyn ruled the word “nonce” was used to allege that Mr Vine “has a sexual interest in children” and that the use of the word “bike” was “a meaningless aspect of the accusation”.

Discussing one post which included the phrase “bike nonce”, the judge said: “In my judgment, the hypothetical ordinary reasonable reader would understand the post as taunting, scorning and ridiculing the claimant for his alleged proclivity.

“The jocular tone might be seen by the ordinary reasonable reader as in bad taste, given the subject matter, but it would not lead them to understand that no allegation of having a sexual interest in children was seriously being made.

“Nor would the reader perceive it as meaningless abuse ‘shouted’ in the heat of the moment, as there is nothing in the post that would give that impression.”