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Coldplay's Chris Martin Charged With Malicious Intent In Paparazzo Incident

Photos of singer have since been published in Monday's edition of the U.K. tabloid The Sun.

Chris Martin, the camera-shy frontman of Coldplay, has been accused of trashing the car of a freelance photographer over the weekend in Australia.

Martin was surfing at Seven Mile Beach near the New South Wales town of Byron Bay on Sunday when the photographer, John Lister, took aim at the singer on his board and coming out of the water in his wet suit. According to Lister's account of events, Martin demanded that he delete the photos from his digital camera. Lister refused, and the photos have since been published in Monday's edition of the U.K. tabloid The Sun.

"He just lost it," Lister told The Sun. "I told him I was entitled to take pictures of him on a public beach but he wouldn't accept it."

Martin then allegedly picked up a rock and attempted to smash in the windshield of Lister's Jeep, hitting it eight times. The singer has also been accused of trying to let the air out of Lister's tires.

"He didn't manage to break through the screen, but the window now has to be replaced," Lister told the tabloid. "I didn't get involved but went straight to the police."

Because of privacy issues, Australian authorities could not by law disclose the offender's identity. However, they did describe the offender and an incident that matched Lister's claims. A spokesperson for the Byron Bay police said that a 26-year-old Englishman was charged with malicious damage after a press photographer's car was damaged, and has been given a notice to appear in Byron Bay Local Court on October 8. Even if the photographer withdraws his complaint, police said the matter cannot be dropped before the court appearance.

The maximum penalty for malicious damage is five years in jail, but police said that they expect the incident will only result in a fine, since the damage only amounts to a few thousand dollars.

Martin's label representative said it would be unlikely that the singer would comment on the matter, noting that it would be very "un-Coldplay" to do so. She also said that his lawyers would deal with the matter from London, and there would be no need for Martin to return to Byron Bay.

[This story was updated on 07.23.03 at 5:53 p.m. ET.]

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