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TORONTO (Reuters) - An assault charge against pop star Justin Bieber was withdrawn in a Toronto court on Monday after the prosecutor said there was no reasonable prospect of conviction, clearing up one Canadian legal battle for the superstar just as another begins.
Bieber had been charged in January with the assault of a limousine driver in Toronto in December. The driver told police that he had picked up six people, including Bieber, outside a nightclub and that the singer had struck him on the back of the head several times during an altercation on the way to a hotel.
"After completing a thorough review and, in consultation with the police, the Crown determined that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. Accordingly, the charge against Mr. Bieber was withdrawn," Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ontario Attorney General's office, said in an email.
Bieber's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said he welcomed the prosecutor's decision.
"We have always maintained Mr. Bieber's innocence. The withdrawal of the charge is the product of a thorough and thoughtful review of the evidence by responsible prosecutors," Greenspan said in a statement.
While the December incident may now be behind him, 20-year-old Bieber is still not out of legal trouble in Canada. He was arrested and charged with assault and dangerous driving just over a week ago near the town of Stratford, Ontario, where he grew up.
Police said two drivers got into a "physical altercation" on Aug. 29 after a minivan and an all-terrain vehicle collided near Stratford. Bieber was visiting the area with Selena Gomez, the pop singer and former Disney TV star. The two have been in a four-year, on-and-off relationship.
"Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez' peaceful retreat in Stratford this weekend was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of paparazzi," Bieber's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said in an emailed statement last week.
Bieber, whose songs include the hits "Boyfriend" and "Beauty and a Beat," has been a favorite paparazzi target and has attracted more attention lately for his run-ins with the law than for his chart-toppers.
Also in August, Bieber pleaded guilty to careless driving and resisting an officer without violence in Florida, part of a deal to resolve allegations he had been drag racing in a Lamborghini under the influence of drugs and alcohol in January.
Bieber is on probation in Los Angeles after pleading no contest in July to misdemeanor vandalism for pelting a neighbor's home with eggs.
Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Peter Galloway and Grant McCool