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Bieber charged with assault in ATV crash

Singer Justin Bieber performs during a concert at Bercy Arena in Paris, March 19, 2013. Bieber is charged with dangerous driving and assault after police say a collision between a minivan and an ATV led to a physical altercation in southwestern Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Francois Mori, File -
Singer Justin Bieber performs during a concert at Bercy Arena in Paris, March 19, 2013. Bieber is charged with dangerous driving and assault after police say a collision between a minivan and an ATV led to a physical altercation in southwestern Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Francois Mori, File
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By Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - What started out as Justin Bieber's "peaceful retreat" in Canada, ended with him facing criminal charges — and his lawyer pointing the finger squarely at the paparazzi for the pop star's latest run-in with the law.

It was the second time this year Bieber was charged in Canada and it could add to his legal troubles south of the border, where he is already on probation.

The 20-year-old was arrested and charged with dangerous driving and assault Friday following a collision between a minivan and an all-terrain vehicle northeast of his hometown of Stratford.

The driver of the ATV and an occupant of the minivan "engaged in a physical altercation," said the Ontario Provincial Police in a news release issued Tuesday.

Const. Kees Wijnands would not say whether Bieber was driving the ATV, but pictures posted online show the star and on-and-off girlfriend Selena Gomez riding on an ATV on Friday.

Wijnands said there were no injuries as a result of the collision, but wouldn't say whether there were any injuries from the altercation.

"(Bieber) attended our office and he was arrested," Wijnands said. The pop star was then released on a promise to appear in court Sept. 29.

In a statement emailed to The Canadian Press, Bieber's lawyer in Toronto indicated celebrity photographers were involved but provided no details.

"Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's peaceful retreat in Stratford this weekend was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of the paparazzi," said Brian Greenspan.

"This has regrettably resulted in charges of dangerous driving and assault. Mr. Bieber and Ms. Gomez have fully co-operated in the police investigation. We are hopeful that this matter will be quickly resolved."

Los Angeles-based American lawyer Gloria Allred said she's representing "two victims" in the incident, but didn't say if they were photographers.

"My clients will have no other comment at this time. All evidence has been provided to the Canadian authorities," she said in an email.

She also said she had contacted Los Angeles police on behalf of her clients to make them aware of the new charges.

"This is a serious matter that could have an impact on Mr. Bieber's probation status in California," Allred said.

In July, Bieber was sentenced to two years' probation after pleading no contest to a misdemeanour vandalism charge for throwing eggs at a neighbour's house in Los Angeles.

Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, said it's possible that the new charges could affect Bieber's probation. The probation department in Los Angeles County prepares a progress report that's presented to a judge in court.

"It's up to a judge to decide," Robison said, adding, "We don't have a time on when that will happen."

Just a few days before the incident in Ontario, Bieber's car was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by a photographer in Hollywood. The Grammy Award-nominated singer tweeted: "There should be laws against what I just experienced. We should have learned from the death of Princess Diana..."

He added: "... I don't have a problem with Paparazzi but when they act recklessly they put us all in danger."

Bieber has had other heated encounters with the celebrity photographers. Paparazzo Aja Oxman filed a lawsuit last month alleging the singer ordered his bodyguard, Dwayne Patterson, to take a memory card after the photographer snapped photos of the pop singer on a Hawaiian beach in November of 2013.

The suit also alleged Patterson placed Oxman in a chokehold and seriously injured him and damaged his camera.

Earlier this year Toronto police charged Bieber with assault, alleging he hit a driver several times in the back of the head after he and five others were picked up by a limousine in the early hours of Dec. 30.

There is a court hearing in that case scheduled for Sept. 8, but Greenspan said Bieber won't attend.

Bieber has faced other legal woes in the United States and Germany.

Last month, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges of careless driving and resisting arrest in Miami Beach after what police initially called an illegal street drag race.

German authorities reported last month that Bieber paid about $11,000 in fines and other fees for trying to bring a pet monkey into Munich last year without the necessary papers. Mally the monkey was seized by customs and now lives at a zoo in northern Germany.

--With files from Lauren La Rose

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