Justin Bieber faces new charges

Last updated 16:46 30/01/2014

Pop star Justin Bieber appears at a police station in Toronto where he will be formally charged with assault over an incident involving a limousine driver.

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Justin Bieber has been charged with assault for allegedly hitting a Toronto limousine driver several times in the back of the head last month, the second arrest in a week for the baby-faced 19-year-old pop star.

Bieber turned himself in to a police station Wednesday evening (local time), arriving amid a crush of media and screaming fans. He was charged with one count of assault and is scheduled to appear in court in Toronto on March 10.

Police allege Bieber was one of six people who were picked up by a limousine from a nightclub in the early morning hours of December 30, and there was an altercation while en route to a hotel.

Police said during the altercation one of the passengers hit the limo driver in the back of the head several times.

"The driver stopped the limousine, exited the vehicle and called police," a statement said. "The man who struck him left the scene before police arrived."

Howard Weitzman, Bieber's attorney in California, said his client is innocent and declined to comment on the allegations against Bieber or any potential defense, saying it was now a matter for the court to handle.

He said he expects the case to be treated as a summary offence, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States.

"The Toronto Police Service requested that Justin Bieber appear in Toronto today to face an allegation of assault relating to an incident on December 29, 2013. We anticipate that this matter will be treated as a summary offense, the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States," Weitzman said in a statement.

"Our position is the Mr. Bieber is innocent."

Brian Greenspan, Bieber's Canadian attorney, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

It's just the latest in a sting of allegations involving the teen idol, cases that have overshadowed the recent release of his latest album. Its reception has been far from the chart-topping success Bieber had after he debuted in 2009, with multiple platinum albums.

Earlier, he pleaded not guilty in Florida to charges of driving under the influence after driving nearly twice the speed limit on a Miami Beach street. He also pleaded not guilty to resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

Bieber remains under investigation for felony vandalism in Los Angeles County over an egg-tossing episode that damaged his neighbour's home. Detectives searched his home on January 14, and prosecutors have sought additional information before determining whether to pursue charges.

Also on Wednesday, a online petition asking the Obama administration to deport Bieber after his Miami arrest from the United States, passed the 100,000 signature threshold required for a White House response.

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Bieber was unlikely to be deported because federal law dictates that a visa can only be revoked or denied for a conviction of a violent crime with a minimum one year prison sentence.

A spokesman for Bieber had no comment Wednesday.

The singer debuted a music video for his song Confident on Wednesday afternoon, just as news of his expected arrest was breaking.

Last year, Bieber made headlines for everything from clashing with a paparazzo to fainting at a show to being photographed smoking marijuana. The paparazzo is suing Bieber for assault and battery.

German authorities charged him thousands of dollars after he abandoned a pet monkey that they seized from him for failing to have proper vaccination papers.

The singer also had to apologise to Bill Clinton after cursing the former president and spraying his photo with cleaning fluid in a New York City restaurant kitchen.

-AP, Reuters

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