Justin Bieber charged with assault, dangerous driving after accident
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez ride an all-terrain vehicle on the backroads near Stratford, Ont. where Bieber grew up, on Friday Aug. 29, 2014. (Pacific Coast News/QMI Agency)
STRATFORD -- Pop music heartthrob Justin Bieber is in hot water again -- this time, on his home turf in Perth County after a reported run-in with paparazzi.
But the hitmaker's Canadian lawyer, Brian Greenspan, is blaming the celebrity-chasing media.
Bieber, 20, was charged with dangerous driving and assault after a reported collision between an ATV and a minivan near Stratford, near the gated rural estate the pop star bought for his father.
The ATV driver "engaged in a physical altercation" with the van's occupant, the OPP said Tuesday.
His Canadian lawyer, Brian Greenspan, in a statement indicated Bieber was at the rural spread Friday with on-again-off-again girlfriend, actor-singer Selena Gomez, having a "peaceful retreat" that "was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of paparazzi."
"This has regrettably resulted in charges of dangerous driving and assault. Mr. Bieber and Ms. Gomez have fully co-operated in the police investigation," Greenspan wrote. "We are hopeful that this matter will be quickly resolved."
Bieber could be in deeper trouble because of the latest Canadian charges.
Now serving a two-year probation in California for egging his neighbour's home, he could be ordered to return for a court hearing for not keeping his nose clean, one lawyer said.
"He could land himself in some trouble with the probation department there," said Brendon Basiga, a London lawyer who also practises law in Michigan.
Basiga said Bieber might have issues crossing the border back into the U.S. because of the outstanding charges. "It's very likely he's going to have to stick around Canada for the next little while."
"Whether you have a conviction or a charge does not necessarily matter at the border. The border patrol agents are granted extremely wide latitude," he said.
Bieber might be allowed back into the U.S. for the limited purpose of dealing with his probation -- before a judge.
"There's very likely going to be a probation violation hearing of some kind," said Basiga.
Tensions were high inside the gated estate northeast of Shakespeare where Bieber and Lopez had been staying before the alleged incident, a home the pop star bought two winters ago for his father. After QMI Agency reporters parked nearby on a public road, a caller in the home phoned police, complaining of trespassing. The call brought an immediate response from OPP, who arrived within a minute or two in a couple of cruisers soon joined by a police van.
A neighbour in a farm that overlooks the property says it appeared Bieber and Gomez had been enjoying a quiet time together, with tents and a bouncy castle set up on the grounds behind the home. The photos of the couple together on an ATV appeared to have been taken by paparazzi from adjacent properties, including her own, without permission, the neighbour said.
The neighbour declined to identify herself, saying she tries to keep out of the Biebers' business.
"It's a hornet's nest," the neighbour said.