Just hours after his lawyer filed a not-guilty plea to drink-driving charges in Florida, the Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber handed himself in to a Toronto police station on Wednesday night to be charged with the assault of a limousine driver in December last year.
Bieber arrived with his entourage in three black SUVs at the Toronto police service's 52 Division at about 7.30pm local time and was greeted by a scrum of around 150 people – a mixture of waiting journalists and screaming fans – who had been waiting for over an hour in -11C temperatures. Wearing a blue baseball cap and surrounded by five of his security guards, he was ushered through the crowds by four police officers.
According to Toronto police the assault occurred when the driver collected a group of six people from a night club on 29 December 2013. "While driving the group to a hotel, an altercation occurred between one of the passengers and the driver of the limousine," read a statement from the Toronto police.
"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. The man who struck him left the scene before police arrived."
The allegations come a week after the 19-year-old was arrested and charged in Florida accused of resisting arrest, driving a hired yellow Lamborghini under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs, and using a Georgia driver's licence that had long expired.
In a statement, Bieber's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, said police had requested the singer's presence at the police station to face the allegation. "We anticipate that this matter will be treated as a summary offence, the equivalent of a misdemeanour in the United States," the statement said. "Our position is that Mr Bieber is innocent."
Bieber's journey from adorable 13-year-old YouTube star to celebrity bad boy has been followed closely by the international media. The star's fans are notoriously loyal, calling themselves "Beliebers", and he has a nearly-50-million-strong following on Twitter.
In July last year marijuana was found on one of Bieber's tour buses and in the same month he was filmed cursing the former US president Bill Clinton while urinating into a mop bucket in a restaurant. The following August he was fined around $8,000 for abandoning a capuchin monkey at Munich airport after bringing it on tour without the right paperwork.
Earlier this month a neighbour complained that Bieber had thrown eggs at his home, causing more than $200,000 worth of damage. The star's house was subsequently searched and a form of ecstasy was found, resulting in the arrest of Bieber's friend Lil Za.
A petition on WhiteHouse.gov on WhiteHouse.gov requesting that Bieber be expelled from the US has received around 180,000 signatures, surpassing the 100,000 needed for the White House to address the situation.
The text with the petition reads: "We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked.
"He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation's youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society."
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
Original headline: Justin Bieber hands himself in to police over alleged assault on limousine driver
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