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Justin Bieber charged with assault, dangerous driving after ATV crash

Justin Bieber’s camp is pointing a finger of blame at the paparazzi for the Canadian pop star’s latest run-in with the law in Canada.

Ontario Provincial Police said Bieber, 20, was arrested Friday and charged with dangerous driving and assault following a collision between a minivan and an ATV in a rural area northeast of Bieber’s hometown of Stratford.

The driver of the ATV and an occupant of the minivan “engaged in a physical altercation,” according to police.

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 couldn’t say whether there were any injuries from the altercation.

“He attended our office and he was arrested,” Wijnands said. Bieber 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 the paparazzi 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.”

Just a few days before the incident, Bieber’s car was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by a photographer in Hollywood and 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 then tweeted: “… I don’t have a problem with Paparazzi but when they act recklessly they put us all in danger.”

This is Bieber’s second brush with the law in Canada.

Early this year Toronto police charged him 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 also had legal woes in the United States and Germany.

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

In July, Bieber pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour vandalism charge for throwing eggs at a neighbour’s house in Los Angeles. He agreed to pay more than $80,000 in damages, meet a number of other conditions and was sentenced to two years’ probation.

Bieber also settled a fine and paid for the costs of caring for a monkey he brought into Germany last year without the necessary papers, according to that country’s authorities. The monkey was seized by customs and Bieber failed to claim the animal.

The monkey now lives in a zoo.

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