By Cameron French
TORONTO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The limousine driver alleged to have been assaulted by teen popstar Justin Bieber quit his job following the December incident, the manager of the limo company told the Toronto Star in an article published on Thursday.
The driver is "in shock. Something like this does not happen in Toronto," Tony Albert, manager of Park Lane Livery limousines, told the newspaper. He said the driver was middle-aged and new to the position, but he declined to disclose his identity on the advice of legal counsel.
An employee at the company told Reuters that Albert was not immediately available to confirm the report.
"We do club runs every weekend in Toronto - even with the drunkies we never faced this kind of problem, the driver getting physically assaulted in the head," he said.
Canadian police charged Bieber on Wednesday with assault following the incident in the early hours of Dec. 30 when Bieber and five others were picked up outside a Toronto nightclub.
Police alleged the driver was struck on the back of the head several times during an altercation on the way to a hotel. Bieber, 19, left the scene before police arrived, they alleged in a statement.
The singer's Canadian lawyer said in a statement that Bieber is innocent.
The charges come just a week after Bieber was charged with driving under the influence in Miami, where police said he was caught drag racing in a rented Lamborghini. Bieber has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Bieber, a native of Ontario, Canada, has had a rocky life 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.
Bieber was charged after appearing at a Toronto police station on Wednesday evening, arriving in a black SUV and met by a crowd of journalists and screaming fans, who braved temperature of minus 10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit).
On Thursday, TV crews were camped outside a hotel in Toronto's upscale Yorkville area where Bieber was thought to be staying. The singer representatives declined to disclose his location.
The singer had at least one defender on Thursday who knows something about negative attention: fellow Canadian and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
Ford, who has become a staple of late-night comics since he admitted in November that he had smoked crack cocaine while in a "drunken stupor," defended Bieber on Thursday during an interview on a Washington, D.C., radio show called Sports Junkies.
"Well, you know what, he's a young guy," said Ford. "He's 19 years old, guys. Think back to when you were 19." (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Cynthia Osterman)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.