July 21, 2003 01:00 AM

Coldplay singer (and Gwyneth Paltrow’s boyfriend) Chris Martin has been charged in Australia with malicious damage after allegedly losing his temper and smashing the windshield of a photographer’s car, according to published reports.

The photographer, Jon Lister, reportedly took pictures of Martin, 26, surfing at Australia’s Seven-Mile Beach in Byron Bay, 500 miles north of Sydney. The incident allegedly occurred a few hours before Coldplay were due to headline Sydney’s Splendor in the Grass festival.

“It is alleged that at the conclusion of that surfing session the gentleman approached the journalist in regard to the taking of photographs,” said Byron Bay police spokesman Greg Carey, according to Britain’s Sky News.

“A short time later the journalist has returned to his motor vehicle, where he has seen the person smashing his windscreen and letting the air out of his tires. That journalist attended the Byron Bay police station where he reported the matter. ”

The spokesman went on to say, “At 5 p.m. that afternoon, police interviewed the gentleman where he admitted he had lost his temper due to the constant harassment by that journalist and consequently smashed his windscreen and let the air out of his tires.”

Martin has been ordered to appear in the Byron Bay local court on Oct. 8. His record company in Australia, EMI, had no comment.

Since Coldplay rose to prominence in 2000 thanks to their album “Parachutes,” Martin has attempted to keep his personal life private, especially after he began his relationship with Paltrow, 30.

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