No Bieber but plenty of 'Beliebers' at Toronto court proceeding for pop star
Published Monday, March 10, 2014 12:35PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 10, 2014 4:50PM EDT
TORONTO - There were smirks, hopes and disappointment at the Old City Hall courthouse Monday.
The smirks were from court staff. The hopes and disappointment were from a group of teenaged girls who thought they would get to see Justin Bieber.
Bieber, who turned 20 earlier this month, was due for his first court appearance since Toronto police charged him with assault at the end of January. Little did the band of Beliebers know, the pop star was not required to appear in court.
High-profile criminal defence lawyer Brian Greenspan stood in his place, as the Crown announced they would be handing over surveillance video evidence, as well as the alleged victim's video statement to the defence team.
"This was just a routine appearance, and it's been put over until April 14th, at which time there will be another routine appearance," Greenspan told a crush of media and teenagers outside the courthouse. "Mr. Bieber will not be in court on the 14th, nor will he be required to appear until a trial date, which has not yet been set and will be sometime in the future and we do not know when that might be."
Bieber turned himself in to 52 Division station in downtown Toronto on Jan. 29, after which he was charged with one count of assault and ordered to appear in court March 10.
The assault charge stems from a Dec. 30, 2013 accusation that Bieber hit limo driver Abdul Mohar on the back of the head after Mohar picked up the Bieber entourage outside a downtown Toronto nightclub.
The charge came on the heels of other legal drama for Bieber, whose California home was searched earlier this year in relation to a vandalism investigation and who is accused of driving under the influence, among other allegations, after his arrest in Florida.
In Toronto on Monday, there was a long line-up to get inside Courtroom 111, where Bieber's case was to be addressed late in the morning. After some pushing and shoving to get inside, a Toronto police sergeant loudly announced that Bieber was not in the building and would not be there for the brief court hearing. None of the Beliebers left, explaining to reporters later that they were still hopeful their "idol" would appear.
"I was planning on just hugging him and saying everything's going to be all right," said Rawan Armoush, 15. "I was heart-broken, because I was so excited and we woke up so early for this and I didn't get to see him."
"We're here to support Justin," said 15-year-old Emily Kerr. "I'm sure the media has blown everything up. Yeah, so I'll still support him no matter what."
Asked why she supports Bieber, Kerr's 15-year-old cousin, Amy Kerr, said, "He's just very kind to others."
Greenspan said his defence team has "independent witnesses who indicate that he (Bieber) was not engaged in any wrongdoing.
"We will pursue our independent witnesses, we will compare them to the witnesses that will be provided to us in disclosure and decisions will be made. But no decisions will be made as to what will be done in the future."
Bieber's next court date was set for April 14, at which time nothing remarkable is expected to happen, though some of Bieber's fans said they would be there — just in case.
Greenspan said he has not seen so many spectators for such an insignificant court date since he represented supermodel Naomi Campbell on an assault charge some 15 years ago.
"I have this fear that my legacy will be two common assault trials," Greenspan joked.
Perhaps the most surprising piece of information to come out of Bieber's Monday court date was a detail filed in the court document regarding his charges.
Bieber's name ("BIEBER, Justin"), date of birth ("01 Mar. 1994") and address were all filled in the appropriate spaces by a police officer. But in the space asking for Bieber's occupation, the officer typed: "UNKNOWN."