Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Justin Bieber Charged with Assault in Toronto; Allegedly Hit Limo Driver

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Justin Bieber Charged with Assault in Toronto; Allegedly Hit Limo Driver

Article excerpt

Justin Bieber charged with assault in Toronto

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TORONTO - Justin Bieber pushed his way through a teeming crowd of journalists and deliriously screaming fans Wednesday night as the global pop phenom surrendered to face a charge of assault.

The blinding camera flashes and shouts of "Justin I love you!" outside a downtown Toronto police station were similar to the scene that greeted the young star in Miami last week, where he faces charges in an alleged drag racing incident.

Police allege that Bieber and five other people were picked up by a limousine from a Toronto nightclub in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, and that there was an altercation en route to a hotel.

During the altercation one of the passengers hit the limo driver, police allege. Bieber was charged with one count of assault.

The Stratford, Ont., native, wearing a black baseball cap and a jacket with the collar hiked up around his face, received a ceremonious welcome to face a serious charge.

As he was ushered through the crush by police officers and a body guard, dozens of young women screamed his name and jostled for a photo of the star.

"I saw the back of him!" Christina Notario, 19, screamed.

"I've been a fan of him since he was little, and like, I still love him no matter what, like, I don't know. I just love him so much."

The crowd outside the station appeared to grow despite the sub-zero temperatures as the singer spent nearly two hours with officers and members of his entourage.

Fans who lingered for another glance of the 19-year-old star were disappointed though, as Bieber quietly slipped out a back exit.

He is scheduled to appear in court in Toronto on March 10, but his Canadian lawyer did not say if Bieber would have to appear in person on that date.

Lawyer Seth Weinstein released a statement saying he expects the charge will be prosecuted summarily, which is akin to a misdemeanour in the U.S.

"Our position is that Mr. Bieber is innocent," Weinstein said in the brief statement.

Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, tweeted a request Wednesday night for the public to "be kind and hope for the best in people" and "not assume the worst. …

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