Justin Bieber’s camp claim paparazzi trespassed on private land to take pictures of him and Selena Gomez, while Bieber’s lawyers claim the photogs violated the pair’s privacy. Sources say the Canadian is denying a physical altercation took place and will fight the charges of dangerous driving and assault in court.
Just two weeks ago, Justin Bieber was frustratedly tweeting about the paparazzi after one rear-ended his Ferrari in Los Angeles.
His native country has proved to be no different in that respect.
After his latest brush with the law in Canada, Bieber’s camp and his lawyers have made it clear they blame the 20-year-old’s recent ATV crash and arrest on the paparazzi involved.
On Tuesday, the Ontario Provincial Police revealed Bieber had been arrested and charged with dangerous driving and assault, after the ATV he drove collided with a minivan shortly before 3 pm on Friday, August 29, on a country highway near to the singer’s hometown of Stratford, Ontario.
Police said the pop star “engaged in a physical altercation” with a man inside the minivan, and that they had considered his driving a “danger to the public.” Photos of Bieber and his on-again girlfriend Selena Gomez taking turns driving an ATV were published by TMZ over Labor Day weekend.
The site would later reveal the minivan Justin allegedly collided with, was occupied by two paparazzi.
The “Believe” singer was arrested and charged on Monday when he turned himself in at a police station. He was released on a promise to appear in court on September 29, as OPP Constable Kees Wijnands told press Tuesday. He noted Bieber’s lawyer(s) can appear for the singer at that hearing.
(Photo: Bieber and Gomez riding an ATV in Ontario, Canada on Friday, August 29.)
On September 2, TMZ reported sources from Bieber’s camp confirm there was a collision, but are denying any assault or physical altercation took place between the singer and the paparazzi.
The sources claim the paparazzi stayed in the minivan taking photos of Bieber and Gomez after the collision, and were told to leave the property by Justin.
The website adds Bieber’s camp claim the paparazzi trespassed on private land owned by Justin’s father, Jeremy, to photograph the couple riding the ATV and had pursued them all day.
CBC News previously reported Ontario Provincial Police officers went to Jeremy’s home in Perth East on Tuesday, after paparazzi trespassed on his property.
TMZ noted Bieber’s camp claims Canada has a particular approach to charges. According to the sources, when a complaint is filed by one party against another in Canada, charges are automatically laid against the accused — then a full investigation takes place.
Update: The “charge first, investigate after” process in Canada was seen on September 8, when an Ontario court withdrew a charge of assault against the star at the hearings stage of the case.
In the Tuesday video segment [shown below], it was said Bieber and his legal team intend to fight the case in court.
OPP Constable Wijnands previously said there were no injuries as a result of the collision, but couldn’t say whether there were any injuries from the alleged – and denied – physical altercation, the Associated Press reported.
Bieber’s attorneys also released statements blasting the paparazzi on Tuesday.
“Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s peaceful retreat in Stratford this weekend,” said Brian H. Greenspan, “was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of paparazzi.”
The attorney continued, “This has regrettably resulted in charges of dangerous driving and assault. Mr. Bieber and Ms. Gomez have fully cooperated in the police investigation.”
He added, “We are hopeful that this matter will be quickly resolved.”
Roy Black, the criminal defense attorney who steered Bieber’s Miami DUI case, offered a stronger statement slamming Bieber’s — and other celebrities’ — lack of privacy and the actions of paparazzi.
“Their privacy is shredded and these incidents can become dangerous. While the public is not particularly sympathetic, they must realize how difficult these cameramen make their lives,” he said.
Black concluded, “So I am not surprised there is a conflict. It happens quite often, and as long as the paparazzi are highly paid for their photographs, they will continue. This is one reason I would not agree to probation.”
(Video: Bieber and Gomez were swarmed by paparazzi at his 17th birthday party in Los Angeles in 2011.)
TMZ reports Bieber’s third arrest has triggered an investigation by the Los Angeles County Probation Department, to determine whether these dangerous driving and assault charges violate his probation sentence in another case which could lead to jail.
Bieber was placed on two-years probation in July, after pleading no contest to an egging-related misdemeanor vandalism charge in an L.A. case. Probation Department officials are reportedly contacting law enforcement in Canada to verify details of the incident.
CBC News notes the Canadian paparazzi involved in the incident are now represented by famed US attorney Gloria Allred. In an email notifying The Canadian Press, Allred referred to her clients as “two victims” and called the accident “a serious matter that could have an impact on Mr. Bieber’s probation status in California.”
Bieber’s run-ins with paparazzi are well-documented. His most recent remarks lamenting forgotten lessons of Princess Diana’s death met with almost universal eye-rolls. But, then the public and media — the industry which buys what paparazzi sells — seems content to ignore the fact that Bieber has been dealing with the commercially-motivated battering of his privacy for years, and 24/7.
In recent interviews, Alanis Morissette called Bieber “hyper-judged, hyper-accessed,” while noting the post-traumatic stress disorder she says fame left her with. Kristen Stewart drew similarities between the “unimaginable… overexposure” she and Bieber receive, while Brit model Cara Delevingne tweeted about hiding in a bathroom from paparazzi and likening it to feeling “like a caged animal.” Each highlights the dark side of the spotlight.
To be fair, most people simply don’t understand the mental, emotional and physical harm that can be caused to a person from constant violation by paparazzi, tabloid distortion and uber fame. Equally, many don’t make the effort to.
Given that Bieber is denying assault, and Allred’s clients were obviously following him and Gomez on their private break — which is why photos of the couple on the ATV in different locations are available — the attorney’s use of the term “victims” is particularly misplaced.
Perhaps the penultimate shot of Bieber’s face from TMZ’s “PDA on an ATV” roll makes the point clearer?
[Images via PacificCoastNewsOnline.]