A court in Canada has ordered teen pop sensation Justin Bieber to stop making music for the next three years as restitution for a recent assault charge.
In a plea deal with the prosecution today, 19-year-old Bieber agreed to refrain from touring or recording new material in exchange for keeping himself out of jail.
The singer had faced up to three months in prison after a Dec. 30 altercation in Toronto in which he hit a limousine driver on the back of the head repeatedly.
The highly unusual deal was conceived by Crown Attorney John Samson, a young prosecutor who is known for his maverick style and who is reportedly not a fan of Bieber’s music.
“Normally we sentence people to clean up trash on the freeway or serve food in soup kitchens,” Samson explains. “But when this came across my desk I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We made it very clear to Justin’s lawyers that we would pursue the assault charge vigorously and that our case would affect his immigration status in the United States. All we asked for in return for dropping the charges was a hiatus on the singing. And we got it. We’re thrilled.
“I can’t think of a bigger community service Justin Bieber could perform than to stop making music. It’s terrible. We all know it's terrible. And now finally someone has done something about it.”
Canada-born Bieber shot to fame in 2010 with the hit single Baby, which garnered nearly a billion views on YouTube. In the years since, he has become one of the top-selling recording artists in the world.
Like most child stars, however, his transition into adulthood has been rocky at best. In recent months Bieber has been investigated for egging a neighbor's home, booked for assault and arrested for drag racing while under the influence.
The tween heartthrob's woes have even expanded to include a petition seeking to deport him from the United States for allegedly violating the terms of his visa by engaging in criminal conduct.
The activists behind the petitions admit that their movement is less about Bieber's criminal behavior, and more about his music, which most people find to be a revoltingly rancid blend of bubblegum pop lyrics, whiney auto-tuned vocals and tween sexuality.
"This is almost better than him getting deported," says Matt Greene, the author of one of the deportation petitions. "He can stay in the country as long as he wants as long as he promises not to touch a microphone."