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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 16:38 GMT
German prince sentenced over attacks
Ernst August with his wife, Princess Caroline of Monaco
Prince Ernst August with his wife, Princess Caroline
Prince Ernst August of Hanover, one of the highest-ranking aristocrats in Germany and husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, has been convicted of physically and verbally attacking two journalists, a photographer and a restaurant owner.

Charges against Ernst August
The kick
Kicking a photographer at the Salzburg opera festival
The punch-up
A brawl with a restauranteur on a Kenyan holiday island
The pee
Abusive phone calls to a tabloid after pictures of him peeing in public
He was fined DM 500,000 ($228,000)and given an eight-month suspended sentence for charges of threatening behaviour, verbal abuse and causing bodily harm.

The prince, who did not appear in court in person, has been a regular target of German tabloid headlines for his flamboyant behaviour.

He was appealing against much higher fines totalling DM 3m ($1.4m) imposed over the three incidents.

The prince's lawyer was met with laughter and disbelief when he suggested that Ernst August was unable to pay such a high sum.

"My client only earned DM170,000 ($77,500) in 1999. The Fines are unrealistic," said Dr Jochen Heidemeier, according to a report by Bild Zeitung.

"Three bodyguards, a mercedes, a chauffeur - how does that come out of DM170,000?" responded the prosecution.

Pavilion pee

The prince only admitted to one of the three incidents, when he made abusive phone calls to two journalists from the tabloid Bild Zeitung after they published photographs of him urinating against the Turkish pavillion at the Hanover Expo.


I did indeed relieve myself during my visit to Expo 2000, but neither against the wall of the Turkish pavilion nor on the soil of the Turkish state

Prince Ernst August
He phoned the editor and deputy editor four times in one day to insult them.

Last year he took out an advertisement in the Frankfruter Allgemeine Zeitung to defend his behaviour at the world fair, which was at risk of becoming something of an international incident.

"I did indeed relieve myself during my visit to Expo 2000, but neither against the wall of the Turkish pavilion nor on the soil of the Turkish state," he said.

Ernst August was also convicted over a brawl with a restauranteur on the Kenyan resort island of Lamu and for kicking a photographer at the Salzburg opera festival in 1999.

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