Ja Rule To Stand Trial For Assault

Rapper due in Toronto court in March.

Ja Rule will return to Toronto in March to stand trial on a charge of assault causing bodily harm.

The rapper's court dates were tentatively set for March 7-11 in Ontario Court, at a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. Ja, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, did not attend the hearing.

Ja Rule is accused of taking part in an altercation at La Rouge nightclub in Toronto's entertainment district on June 5 (see "Ja Rule Charged With Assault In Toronto"). In late August, Ja's lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on his client's behalf (see "Ja Rule's Lawyer Enters Not-Guilty Plea In Assault Case").

No further details on the investigation or charges have been released due to a publication ban (a media restriction ordered by judges in Canada to protect the privacy of victims or witnesses of crimes).

Given the rapper's absence on Wednesday, his lawyers asked for time to contact their client to make sure he would be able to be present for the entire length of the trial. They will return to court on Tuesday to set the firm trial date.