Justin Bieber charged in Toronto with assault, accused of striking driver

ABOVE: Peter Kim reports on Justin Bieber surrendering to Toronto Police.

TORONTO — Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has been charged with assault in connection with an alleged altercation with a limousine driver in Toronto last month.

The 19-year-old singer surrendered to Toronto Police 52 Division at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Bundled in a black coat with faux-fur trim and wearing a blue baseball cap backwards on his head, Bieber was mobbed by media and fans as he stepped out of a black SUV and rushed into a side door of the downtown police station.

BELOW: Watch Justin Bieber arrive at 52 Division. Warning: Some language may offend.

According to police, officers responded to a call in the early morning hours of Dec. 30 about an alleged assault in the Dundas Street West and University Avenue area.

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A limo driver who had picked up six people at a nightclub at Peter Street and Adelaide Street West claimed he was struck several times in the head by one of the passengers during an altercation en route to a hotel.

The driver pulled over, exited his vehicle and waited for police. Police allege the suspect left the scene prior to the arrival of officers.

On Wednesday, Bieber was charged with one count of assault and released. He is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on March 10, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.

Justin Bieber greets fans outside the Hazelton Hotel in Toronto on Jan. 29, 2014. Jeremy Cohn / Global News

Unlike most U.S. law enforcement agencies, police departments in Canada generally do not make mugshots public.

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Bieber arrived at the side entrance of 52 Division accompanied by Seth P. Weinstein of Toronto firm Greenspan Humphrey Lavine, who is also representing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi in an extortion case.

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Bieber exited the building through a different door — and away from media cameras — after nearly two hours.

The superstar was taken back to the Hazelton Hotel (where he stopped to greet waiting fans from the back of an SUV) but was spotted leaving a short time later.

BELOW: Exclusive – Watch Justin Bieber at the Hazelton Hotel.

Several media outlets, including People, published a statement from an unnamed lawyer for Bieber: “The Toronto Police Service requested that Justin Bieber appear in Toronto today to face an allegation of assault relating to an incident on December 29, 2013. We anticipate that this matter will be treated as a summary offense, the equivalent of a misdemeanor in the United States.

“Our position is that Mr. Bieber is innocent. As the matter is now before the Court, it would be inappropriate to address the specifics of either the allegation or of our defense at this time.”

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BELOW: Watch video of Justin Bieber attending the Dec. 29 hockey game at the Air Canada Centre. Courtesy Leafs TV

In Ontario, a first-time assault conviction typically results in a fine of up to $2,000 and/or 18 months in jail. Probation and anger management counselling can also be ordered.

READ MORE: White House will have to answer petition’s call for Justin Bieber’s deportation

In March 2005, American rap star Ja Rule pleaded guilty to assault following an altercation at a downtown Toronto nightclub in June 2004. He was fined $1,200.

GTA resident Daniel Sullivan was sentenced to a year of house arrest in April 2009 after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm after he tackled Oasis musician Noel Gallagher at a concert on Toronto Island the previous summer.

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BELOW: Watch Christina Stevens of Global News with reaction.

Bieber, who turns 20 on March 1, flew out of Panama on Tuesday after spending several days there following his arrest in Miami Beach on charges of DUI, resisting arrest without violence and driving with an expired license.

Bieber, via his lawyers, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Miami-Dade County. His arraignment has been set for Feb. 14 but he is not required to attend.

The arrest in Florida followed a raid on his California mansion by Los Angeles police, who are investigating allegations Bieber egged his neighbour’s house. No charges were filed against Bieber but investigators said he remains a suspect.

On Wednesday, Bieber’s manager Scott “Scooter” Braun tweeted what appeared to be words of support:

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