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Justin Bieber to be charged with assault in Toronto: CBC

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber gestures at a beach as he takes a break in a resort in Punta Chame, on the outskirts of Panama City Januar
Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber gestures at a beach as he takes a break in a resort in Punta Chame, on the outskirts of Panama City Januar

By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian pop star Justin Bieber will be charged with assault in Toronto over an incident in December involving a limousine driver, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said on Wednesday, citing unidentified police sources.

The broadcaster said Bieber was expected to arrive in Toronto on Wednesday and be formally charged.

Bieber's representatives declined to comment on the report.

Toronto police said on their Twitter feed that they cannot confirm information in the media about Bieber, but journalists were gathered outside Toronto's 52 division police station, where the report said he was expected to turn himself in.

Staff Sergeant Deb Abbott at the station said she could not comment but that if someone notable were charged, police would issue a press release and there would be no press conference.

Bieber, 19, has been in trouble with authorities in the United States this month. He was charged with driving under the influence in Miami after police caught him drag racing a rented Lamborghini. He told police he had taken prescription medicine, had been smoking marijuana and had consumed alcohol.

According to court records, he pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to those charges in a written plea submitted by his lawyer. If convicted, Bieber could face up to six months in prison, although experts say he is likely to receive a lighter sentence because it would be his first offence.

Bieber is scheduled to make a court appearance on February 14 to formally answer the charges. He was also charged with driving on an expired license and resisting arrest without violence.

Bieber, a native of Ontario, Canada, first shot to fame as a child when his mother posted YouTube videos of him singing. He became a musical and social media sensation with a devoted following of young, mainly female fans.

The "Boyfriend" singer's life off-stage has been rocky in the last year with problems ranging from scuffling with paparazzi in London to a felony investigation into whether he pelted a neighbor's house with eggs in his gated community near Los Angeles.

Also On Wednesday, a online petition asking the Obama administration to deport Bieber after his Miami arrest from the United States, passed the 100,000 signature threshold required for a White House response.

Bieber was unlikely to be deported because federal law dictates that a visa can only be revoked or denied for a conviction of a violent crime with a minimum one year prison sentence.

(With additional reporting by Natalie Armstrong in Toronto and Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles and Zachary Fagenson in Miami; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Grant McCool)

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