Canadian police charge Justin Bieber with assault

Thursday 30 January 2014 22.12
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Justin Bieber appears at a police station in connection with an alleged criminal assault
Justin Bieber appears at a police station in connection with an alleged criminal assault
Justin Bieber pictured last week after his arrest in Florida
Justin Bieber pictured last week after his arrest in Florida

Police in Toronto have charged Canadian pop star Justin Bieber with the December assault of a limousine driver.

The 19-year-old is scheduled to appear in court on 10 March, police said in a statement issued shortly after Mr Bieber had turned himself in.

Mr Bieber allegedly struck the limousine driver on the back of the head several times during an altercation on the way to a hotel, police said.

The driver got out and called police, but Mr Bieber left before they arrived, according to the statement.

A Canadian lawyer for the pop star issued a statement that said Mr Bieber is innocent.

"As the matter is now before the court, it would be inappropriate to address the specifics of either the allegation or of the defence at this time," it said.

Mr Bieber's legal team expects the matter will be treated as a summary offence, the equivalent of a misdemeanour.

Mr Bieber was charged after appearing at a Toronto police station.

He arrived in a black SUV and was met by a crowd of journalists and screaming fans, who braved temperatures of -10C.

Mr Bieber was mobbed by photographers and fans pushing for a closer look as bodyguards and police officers cleared a path for him to enter the station.

Mr Bieber has been in trouble with authorities in the US this month.

He was charged with driving under the influence in Miami after police say he was caught drag racing a rented Lamborghini.

Police said Mr Bieber told them he had taken prescription medicine, smoked marijuana, and consumed alcohol.

According to court records, he pleaded not guilty to those charges.

If convicted, Mr Bieber could face up to six months in prison, although experts say he is likely to receive a lighter sentence because it would be his first offence.

Meanwhile, the White House is weighing-up an online petition to deport the Canadian-born teen idol after the number of signatures required for presidential consideration passed the 100,000 mark.