Newcastle United's Joey Barton (l) is escorted by a
prison officer from Liverpool prison [GALLO/GETTY]
 
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has been released on bail by a judge even though an assault charge against him had been upgraded to a more serious one.

Barton, who has made one appearance for England, had been held since he was arrested in the early hours of December 27 in downtown Liverpool.

He has missed Newcastle's games against Chelsea and Manchester City, both of them losses, and a court in Liverpool initially refused him bail on Thursday.

His lawyer, Daniel Weed, made a bail application to Judge David Swift at Liverpool Crown Court later in the day and announced afterward that it had
been granted.

Together with his 19-year-old brother, Andrew Barton, the player is charged with assault and affray.

At Thursday's hearing, the assault charge against Joey Barton was upgraded to causing physical injury.

Barton did not attend the hearing at Liverpool Magistrates Court but appeared by video link from Liverpool Prison.

He wore the regulation prison gray sweater and jeans.

A 27-year-old woman, Nadine Wilson, faces a less serious charge of assault and affray.

Both she and Andrew Barton have been released on bail and all three are due to appear again in court Jan. 16.

The police have alleged that Barton and his friends were involved in two separate incidents following an altercation with another group inside a fast food restaurant.

At a previous hearing, Barton's lawyer Gwyn Lewis said the player was being "goaded" in the street and reacted after a female member of his group was attacked.

Source: Agencies