- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - New York hip-hop artist Joey Bada$$ has been charged in an Australian court with assaulting a security guard before a performance last week, officials said Monday.

The 19-year-old Brooklyn performer was headed for the stage at the Falls Music and Arts Festival near the tourist town of Byron Bay in New South Wales state Friday when he was asked by a 20-year-old security guard to prove his identity, police said in a statement.

Bada$$ allegedly punched the guard, breaking his nose, before continuing to the stage and performing his set.

He was later charged with assault causing bodily harm and spent the night in police custody, the statement said. He could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison if convicted.

He appeared in the Lismore Local Court on Saturday under the name Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott and was released on unconditional bail, court official Melissa Everson said. She would not say whether he had entered a plea, citing privacy regulations.

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

His lawyer Tracey Randall didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

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

Bada$$ is touring Australia and New Zealand over the next week, his website shows.

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