Joey Barton’s assault trial halted after judge states ‘it isn’t right to carry on’
The trial of football manager Joey Barton in Sheffield has been halted over ‘lost in translation’ fears.
Jurors in the trial of the Bristol Rovers’ manager, who is accused of assaulting a rival football boss, have been discharged by a judge who said things were getting ‘lost in translation’ over a video link with the alleged victim in Germany.
Barton, 38, who denies assaulting former Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel, after a League One match between Barnsley and Fleetwood Town in April 2019, went on trial at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday.
Mr Stendel began giving evidence on Tuesday about the alleged incident, over a video link from a courtroom in Hanover, in Germany.
But, after more than hour of translation difficulties between Sheffield Crown Court and Germany, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the jury: “It is just not right to struggle on.”
He told the panel: “Unfortunately this morning I became increasingly concerned that things are getting lost in translation.
“He is a critical witness in this case. It’s not fair to him and not fair to anyone in this case.”
Judge Richardson said it was not anybody’s fault that the trial had to be halted, but was a consequence of the extraordinary measures put in place due to the Covid pandemic.
He said a new trial date would be fixed after it could be worked out how to bring Mr Stendel to the UK to give his evidence.
But the judge pointed out that the trial had already been postponed for a year due to Covid and was the oldest case on Sheffield Crown Court’s books.
He said lawyers involved in the trial would look at the legal situation to see if an exception to current travel bans could be made in the ‘service of justice’.
Barton, who played for a number of teams including Manchester City, Newcastle United and Burnley and is now Bristol Rovers’ manager, was given unconditional bail and the case was adjourned until today for a new trial date to be explored.
He was the manager of Fleetwood Town at the time of the alleged assault in the tunnel at Barnsley’s Oakwell Stadium.