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Jan 5, 2015 10:56 PM

Assault charge won't prevent Joey Bada$$ touring New Zealand

The Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) An assault charge in Australia won't prevent New York rapper Joey Bada$$ from touring New Zealand after authorities said Tuesday they didn't plan to revoke his visa.

Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman Rachel Purdom said the hip-hop artist had not been convicted of any crime in the incident and still meets the nation's good-character standard.

Australian police say 19-year-old Bada$$ punched a security guard and broke his nose after the guard asked him to prove his identity before a show.

Charged with assault causing bodily harm, Bada$$ appeared in court under the name Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott. He spent one night in police custody and was released on unconditional bail. If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of five years.

"Joey can confirm that there was a misunderstanding with security at the Byron Falls Festival show, which resulted in charges being laid," the rapper's representative, Bradley Bledsoe, said in a statement, adding: "After fully cooperating with police, Joey was granted bail and entered a plea of not guilty to the charge."

Bada$$ is scheduled to perform this week in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne before traveling to New Zealand to perform in Wellington and Auckland.

New Zealand in recent years has strictly enforced character requirements for visiting celebrities.

Last February it banned Los Angeles rap group Odd Future after deciding the group posed a threat to public order. In 2012, it banned former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson from coming to a speaking engagement due to his criminal record.

Bada$$ will not be required to appear when the charge is next listed in the Byron Bay Local Court on March 19, court official Melissa Everson said. He is free to fly back to the United States and can be represented in court by a lawyer.


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