In his latest brush with the law, pop singer Justin Bieber has been charged with dangerous driving and assault after a collision outside Stratford, Ont., sparked a physical altercation with paparazzi.
Ontario Provincial Police say an all-terrain vehicle and a minivan crashed on Friday, leading to a fight between the ATV driver and an occupant of the van.
Mr. Bieber’s lawyer suggested that the star was being pursued by photographers as he vacationed in his hometown of Stratford with Selena Gomez, his on-again, off-again girlfriend.
“Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’ peaceful retreat in Stratford this weekend was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of paparazzi. This has regrettably resulted in charges of dangerous driving and assault,” Brian Greenspan said in a written statement.
Mr. Bieber was photographed driving an ATV with Ms. Gomez on Friday in Ontario, TMZ reported.
Police were called to the scene of the collision, but Mr. Bieber had left by the time officers arrived, Constable Kees Wijnands said.
“When he knew that we were looking for him, he basically attended our office and that’s all I can tell you,” he said.
Asked whether Mr. Bieber was co-operative when he was arrested, Constable Wijnands said: “Normal. Yeah, he was fine.”
Mr. Greenspan said his client and Ms. Gomez “have fully co-operated in the police investigation. We are hopeful that this matter will be quickly resolved.”
Mr. Bieber was released on a promise to appear in court on Sept. 29, police said. No one else faces charges related to the incident.
No injuries were reported as a result of the collision, said Constable Wijnands, who declined to say whether anyone was injured during the altercation. He also did not disclose details about any vehicle damage.
The collision happened shortly before 3 p.m. Friday on a country highway about a 10-minute drive east of Stratford.
The incident marks the second time in less than a week that Mr. Bieber has had a confrontation with a photographer. He got into a fender-bender with a photographer who was reportedly following him in Los Angeles on Aug. 26. Mr. Bieber later wrote on Twitter: “There should be laws against what I just experienced. We should have learned from the death of Princess Diana.” He added, “I don’t have a problem with Paparazzi but when they act recklessly they put us all in danger.”
The 20-year-old pop star has also had several run-ins with police.
He was charged with assault in January after turning himself into Toronto Police for allegedly assaulting a limousine driver after leaving a downtown nightclub last December. Police say Mr. Bieber struck the driver several times on the back of the head. Mr. Bieber’s lawyers say he did not do anything wrong.
Last month, the singer pleaded guilty to misdemeanour careless driving and resisting arrest charges in relation to what police initially called an illegal street drag race in Miami Beach in January. Mr. Bieber’s plea deal includes a 12-hour anger management course, a $50,000 (U.S.) charitable contribution and court fines.
In July, Mr. Bieber resolved another criminal case by pleading no contest to a misdemeanour vandalism charge for throwing eggs at a neighbour’s house in Los Angeles. In that case, he agreed to pay more than $80,000 in damages and meet a number of other conditions.
The L.A. County Probation Department would not comment on whether officials are investigating Mr. Bieber for any probation violations as a result of the new charges he faces in Canada.
Mr. Bieber is also facing a lawsuit by a photographer who says his bodyguards roughed him up on a sidewalk in Miami last summer.
With reports from Sahar Fatima and The Associated Press.