Justin Bieber charged after ATV crash; lawyer blames paparazzi
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, September 2, 2014 11:28AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 2, 2014 6:16PM EDT
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber is in trouble with the law again, but his legal team says that the paparazzi are to blame.
Bieber was charged with dangerous driving and assault on Friday after an ATV collision near his hometown of Stratford, Ont.
Ontario Provincial Police were called to the scene of a collision between a minivan and an ATV on Line 40, east of Road 106, in the Township of Perth East shortly before 3 p.m. Friday.
"One of the occupants of the van and the operator of the ATV had words," Perth County OPP Const. Kees Wijnands told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "There was an altercation that took place and as a result of that we ended up arresting Justin Bieber for the offences that were committed."
Ontario police said the ATV's driver was on a road where the vehicle is not allowed, except with a special permit.
Bieber, 20, identified as a resident of Calabasas, Calif., has been charged with dangerous driving and assault.
Wijnands did not comment on the occupants of the van, but said each vehicle had two occupants and Bieber was driving the ATV. He said Bieber’s demeanour when dealing with the police was "very positive."
Bieber was released from police custody a short time after the incident on a promise to appear in court on Sept. 29. At that stage of the process, Bieber can have someone represent him in court. If it goes to trial, Bieber will have to appear himself.
Bieber's legal team responded to the news in a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon.
"Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's peaceful retreat in Stratford this weekend was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of paparazzi," the statement said. "This has regrettably resulted in charges of dangerous driving and assault."
The statement goes on to say Bieber and Gomez have fully co-operated with the police investigation, and are hoping for a quick resolution.
Los Angeles-based lawyer Gloria Allred said she's representing the occupants of the van, but didn't say if they were photographers.
"My clients will have no other comment at this time. All evidence has been provided to the Canadian authorities," she said in an email. "This is a serious matter that could have an impact on Mr. Bieber's probation status in California."
The troubled pop star was enjoying a holiday in his home country with on-and-off girlfriend Selena Gomez when the accident occurred.
Late last week, Bieber posted a photo to his Instagram account showing the two of them horseback riding in rural Ontario. Us Weekly reported that the pair arrived on a private jet at the Waterloo, Ont. airport Wednesday, and were mobbed by fans as they made their way to a waiting car.
On Saturday, celebrity gossip website TMZ posted photos of Gomez and Bieber riding ATVs near Stratford. The site said the pictures were taken on Friday.
The singer’s arrest is the latest in a string of legal troubles.
In July, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanour vandalism after a neighbour’s home in Los Angeles was egged. Bieber agreed to pay more than $80,000 in damages in that case.
Last month, Bieber and his lawyers struck a plea deal with prosecutors in Florida on charges related to what police first described as an illegal drag race earlier this year. While one end of the street had been blocked off, there was no evidence that Bieber was actually speeding.
Miami Beach police arrested Bieber in January as he drove a rented Lamborghini through a residential neighbourhood.
Under the deal, Bieber pleaded guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest and his sentence included anger-management classes, a $50,000 charitable donation and a $500 fine.
"We will turn this into a positive experience," Bieber’s lawyer, Howard Srebnick, said at the time. "We're relieved that it's over."
Bieber is also scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on Sept. 8 in connection with a separate assault charge. Police accuse Bieber of hitting a limousine driver several times during a night out with friends on Dec. 30.
With files from The Canadian Press
The map below shows the location of the alleged incident: