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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 12:49 GMT
Prison holds no fear for Barton
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton
Barton denies the assault charge
Newcastle's Joey Barton insists he does not fear going to prison if he is found guilty of assaulting former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.

The 25-year-old has pleaded not guilty to a charge of actual bodily harm and now faces a trial, which is expected to start in June 2008.

"If you go to prison for defending yourself then, yes, I suppose I'll think about it," he told the BBC.

"But I don't care. It doesn't scare me at all. I've done nothing wrong."

The alleged assault took place at City's training ground on 1 May.

If found guilty, the England midfielder could face a sentence of up to five years in jail but he said: "I can go home and sleep at night and know I've done what I thought was right.

Nobody cares whether I'm innocent or guilty - nobody cares

Joey Barton

"I don't think I'm a bad person. If the incidents I've been involved in had been to anyone other than a Premier League footballer, I don't think they'd even be mentioned.

"It was something that I've seen five, six, seven times since I've been a professional footballer."

Barton says his reputation has left him short of support among fans.

"Nobody cares whether I'm innocent or guilty - nobody cares. I'm already guilty before I've been sat in front of a judge - that's the disappointing thing," he said.

"It's my reputation. It's my fault I've got that reputation, but you shouldn't be slaughtered for trying to make yourself a better person. One day I will get to speak about the full facts."

Barton was suspended by City and subsequently sold to Newcastle United in a 5.8m deal in June.

He returned to action for the Magpies in November following a metatarsal injury that had kept him out since the summer.

  • Listen to Five Live Sport tonight from 1900 GMT. See Barton on Inside Sport from 1120 GMT.


    INSIDE SPORT ON THE BBC

    MONDAY 12 MAY
    2330 BST, BBC ONE

    SEE ALSO
    Newcastle fans vicious - Barton
    01 Dec 07 |  Newcastle United
    Barton in court on assault charge
    20 Nov 07 |  Manchester
    Barton apologises for high tackle
    13 Nov 07 |  Premier League
    Barton denies team-mate assault
    09 Aug 07 |  Manchester
    Injured Barton to undergo surgery
    23 Jul 07 |  Newcastle United


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