Bieber surrenders to Toronto cops, charged with assault

Justin Bieber turned himself into Toronto Police 52 Division on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. (Jack...

Justin Bieber turned himself into Toronto Police 52 Division on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

CHRIS DOUCETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:52 AM ET

TORONTO -- Canadian pop icon Justin Bieber will appear in court March 10 to face an assault charge for allegedly attacking a limo driver over the Christmas holidays.

The Stratford, Ont., native -- who faces legal problems in the United States and Canada -- surrendered to Toronto Police Wednesday night.

The baby-faced pop star turned troubled youth arrived in an SUV at a downtown police station shortly before 8 p.m. and was met by a throng of screaming young fans and media.

A handful of officers escorted Bieber through the crowd and into the station where he was interviewed by investigators about an alleged Dec. 29 assault.

About 90 minutes later, the teen heart-throb managed to sneak by reporters and fans by leaving the police station through a back door and driving off in a different vehicle.

Soon after, Insp. Howie Page released a statement explaining the singer has been charged with assault.

The Biebs and some pals took in a Toronto Maple Leafs game from a private box at the Air Canada Centre on the night in question.

Page said it's alleged a limousine driver picked up a group of six people outside a nightclub, near Peter St. and Adelaide St. W., around 2:50 a.m.

"While driving the group to a hotel, an altercation occurred between one of the passengers and the driver of the limousine," he said. "In the course of the altercation, a man struck the limousine driver on the back of the head several times.

"The driver stopped the limousine, exited the vehicle and called police," Page said, adding the assailant left the scene before officers arrived.

Bieber has also recently been in trouble with U.S. authorities in two cities south of the border.

On Jan. 23, he was arrested in Miama and charged with driving under the influence after police allegedly caught him drag racing a rented Lamborghini on a main thoroughfare.

According to court records, he pleaded not guilty Wednesday to those charges in a written plea submitted by his lawyer.

If convicted, Bieber could face up to six months in prison. But experts say that if he's found guilty, Bieber will likely receive a lighter sentence because it would be his first offence.

Bieber is scheduled to make a court appearance Feb. 14 to formally answer to those charges.

He was also charged with driving on an expired license and resisting arrest without violence for the Miami incident.

Bieber has also been under investigation in California, where he resides, after a neighbour claimed he egged his home late last year and caused $20,000 in damage.

Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan -- whose ward includes 52 Division -- cracked a joke Wednesday about Bieber's pending arrest to reporters at City Hall.

"What's the difference between Rob Ford and Justin Bieber? Justin Bieber shoots and cuts his own videos," Vaughan said.

-- With files from Don Peat and Reuters

chris.doucette@sunmedia.ca



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