Assault charge against Bieber dropped in Toronto limo driver incident; Newest case looms

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FILE - In this May 11, 2014, file photo, singer Justin Bieber watches the Los Angeles Clippers play the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series in Los Angeles. Toronto prosecutors on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, told a court they have dropped assault charges against Bieber in connection with an incident involving a Toronto limousine driver. The charge withdrawn Monday stemmed from an early-morning incident late last December, when Bieber and five other people were picked up by a limousine from a Toronto nightclub. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)


TORONTO — Prosecutors said Monday they have dropped an assault charge against Canadian pop star Justin Bieber in connection with an incident involving a Toronto limousine driver.

The withdrawn charge stemmed from an early-morning incident late last December, when Bieber and five other people were picked up by a limousine from a Toronto nightclub. Police alleged Bieber, 20, hit the limo driver several times in the back of the head. The charge made headlines just days after Bieber was arrested in Miami on street-racing and other charges.

Prosecutors said the assault charge was withdrawn because there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

"It was the right decision based on the evidence and we're pleased," said Brian Greenspan, Bieber's lawyer. "It's our belief that no one assaulted the driver."

Greenspan said the withdrawal of the charge follows a thorough review of the evidence by a responsible prosecutor. Bieber is relieved and ready to move on with his career with one less diversion, Greenspan said.

Bieber is due in an Ontario court Sept. 29 to fight new charges. Police said last week that Bieber had been arrested Aug. 29 on charges of dangerous driving and assault following a collision between a minivan and an ATV that led to a fight with a photographer. Greenspan said Bieber was near his hometown of Stratford, Ontario, on a "peaceful retreat" with actress/singer Selena Gomez that "was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of the paparazzi."

Police said there were no injuries as a result of the collision, but could not say whether there were any injuries from the altercation.

Bieber had earlier been photographed on an ATV vehicle with Gomez, his on-and-off again girlfriend.

Just days before the Ontario incident, Bieber's car was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by a photographer in Hollywood. Bieber later tweeted: "I don't have a problem with Paparazzi but when they act recklessly they put us all in danger."

Last month, Bieber pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of careless driving and resisting arrest seven months after his arrest in Miami Beach for what police initially alleged was an illegal street drag race. In a plea bargain, he agreed to an anger management course, a $500 fine and a $50,000 charitable contribution.

In July, Bieber pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor vandalism charge for tossing eggs at a neighbor's house in Los Angeles. He agreed to pay more than $80,000 in damages, meet a number of other conditions and was sentenced to two years' probation.

Bieber catapulted to fame at age 15, and then earned nominations for two Grammy Awards for his 2010 full-length album debut "My World 2.0." Sales of his latest records have fallen off.

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