POLITICS

Bieber's lawyer says he never claimed star wasn't there during alleged assault

04/22/2015 01:35 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 06:59 EDT
TORONTO - A lawyer for Justin Bieber says he never claimed his client wasn't present during an alleged assault on a Toronto limousine driver who is now suing the Canadian pop star.

Brian Greenspan says his defence has always been that Bieber didn't commit the alleged assault on Dec. 30, 2013, not that he wasn't there.

The lawyer representing the limousine driver told The Canadian Press last month that he looked forward to "cross-examining Mr. Bieber on his non-presence or indeed his non-existence."

Clayton Ruby was quoted in a March 29 story as saying Bieber's lawyer had said his client "wasn't present, it wasn't him."

Ruby retracted part of his statement Wednesday after Greenspan argued it would raise "the suggestion of an inconsistency" in Bieber's version of events, which could hinder him in the suit.

The lawyer says his comment claiming Greenspan said Bieber wasn't present "is not accurate at all," but the part about Greenspan saying it wasn't him "is accurate as far as I knew then, and seems to be accurate today."

The lawsuit revolves around an incident that allegedly occurred when Bieber and five other people were picked up by driver Abdul Mohar at a Toronto nightclub in his Ford Expedition SUV.

Mohar, who was working as an Uber driver, alleges in his statement of claim that there was "a distinct odour of alcohol and marijuana present" at the time.

He alleges in the document that a dispute erupted over the volume of a CD he was playing and that "suddenly and without warning," Bieber moved to the front of the SUV, turned the volume all the way up and "viciously assaulted" him.

Mohar claims Bieber punched him in his right cheek with a closed fist, and then "punched him four to five times in the back of the head."

None of the allegations have been proven in court and a statement of defence has not yet been filed.

Mohar is seeking $850,000 in damages and a permanent injunction preventing Bieber or anyone representing him from coming within 100 metres of him, the document says.

Bieber was charged with one count of assault in connection with the alleged incident, but last September prosecutors withdrew the charge saying they didn't see "a reasonable prospect of conviction."

Greenspan has said the charge was withdrawn because Bieber did not fit the description of the alleged assailant.