UPDATE: Justin Bieber has pleaded guilty to simple assault and careless driving with regard to the charges below. A judge gave the pop singer an “absolute discharge” of the assault charge and will face no punishment for it. He will have to pay $750 for the driving charge, according to Los Angeles Times.
The incident occurred on Friday afternoon near Bieber’s hometown of Stratford, and according to a police news report “the driver of the ATV and an occupant of the minivan engaged in a physical altercation” following the crash. While it’s unclear which vehicle Bieber was in, the pop star had been spotted riding an ATV earlier that week. The singer was released from police custody on the promise that he would appear in court on September 29th.
“Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s peaceful retreat in Stratford this weekend was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of the paparazzi,” Bieber’s lawyer Brian Greenspan said Tuesday. “This has regrettably resulted in charges of dangerous driving and assault. Mr. Bieber and Ms. Gomez have fully cooperated in the police investigation. We are hopeful that this matter will be quickly resolved.”
The assault charges are the latest addition to Bieber’s growing rap sheet: Back in January he turned himself in to Toronto police for allegedly assaulting a limousine driver (his lawyers say he’s innocent), and last month, Bieber avoided a harsh DUI punishment for his January arrest for driving under the influence and drag racing. Instead, Bieber made a $50,000 donation to a Miami children’s charity and paid a $500 fine; he’ll also have to take part in a private 12-hour anger-management course and watch a series of videos on the dangers of drunk driving.
At the end of August, Bieber and his bodyguard, Dwayne Patterson, were sued by a photographer for assault and battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress after a fight broke out on a Hawaiian beach last year. Paparazzo Aja Oxman was allegedly photographing Bieber when the singer ordered Patterson to take his memory card; Oxman claims the bodyguard put him in a chokehold and dropped him on the hood of a car, and that he and Bieber then destroyed his camera and took his memory card and keys.
Amidst his mounting legal troubles, Bieber has been working on new material, including a collaborative album with 17-year-old singer Cody Simpson, which is due out by November, according to The Guardian. Simpson told Canadian magazine, Tribute, that the sessions started as an experiment, but quickly morphed into something more substantial: “We went in and ended up being in the studio till six in the morning. [We] came out with a song, went in the next night and then ended up writing like 12 songs in seven days, working all night.”