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US musician Chris Brown pleads guilty to assaulting former love Rihanna

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Chris Brown has pleaded guilty to one count of assault on his former girlfriend, pop star Rihanna, in a last minute plea deal. His sentence involves five years of supervised probation and six months of community labour
 Photo: © Getty Images

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The plea deal was reached shortly before Rihanna, 21, was due to testify under subpoena in a preliminary hearing. While both parties were in court, they were never present at the same time
 Photo: © Getty Images

23 JUNE 2009

American R&B singer Chris Brown has pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend, Umbrella singer Rihanna, after reaching an agreement that spares him jail time.

In a court hearing in LA on Tuesday, the 20-year-old was sentenced to five years probation and six months of community service, which he can undertake in his home state of Virginia. He will also complete a year of domestic violence classes and has been ordered to stay 50 yards away from Rihanna, except at industry events when the distance is reduced to ten yards.

In exchange he pleaded guilty to felony assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury.

Both Chris and Rihanna were present in the courtroom, although never at the same time. The plea deal was reached shortly before the Barbados-born beauty - demurely dressed in a black dress and pearls - was due to testify under subpoena in a preliminary hearing.

Addressing the Run It singer, who had been charged with two felony counts, Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg said: "Mr Brown, I think it's commendable that you took responsibility for your conduct."

Outside the court, Chris' lawyer said: "He embraces this as a chance to get the message out that domestic violence will not be tolerated. He wants to get his life back on track." Rihanna's legal representative said the singer believed it was a "fair and just resolution".

If he violates probation, Chris will face four years in prison. His formal sentencing is set for August 5, when the court will drop a second charge of making criminal threats.

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