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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 09:39 GMT
Latvia flower-attacker spared jail
Prince Charles was on a visit to Latvia
Alina had originally faced serious charges
A Latvian schoolgirl who hit the Prince of Wales with a flower has been spared a prison sentence after the prince pleaded for leniency.

Alina Lebedeva, 16, was sentenced to a year of "educational measures" by a court in the capital, Riga.

Television pictures of her swatting the prince with a red carnation as he tried to defend himself were shown around the world.

At the time, Latvian authorities said they would charge her with "threatening the life and health" of a foreign dignitary - which could have meant a 15-year jail term.

Alina Lebedeva
Alina must undergo unspecified "educational measures"
But palace officials pointed out that the prince regarded it as a "trivial" incident which had not harmed him.

Judge Andis Celms also ordered Alina's mother to supervise her more closely, warning that she could herself face trial if her daughter pulls any more stunts.

The "educational measures" which Alina will undergo were not specified in court.

Lawyers in Latvia said the ruling was the most lenient one that the teenager could have hoped for.

The public was banned from the hearing, but around a dozen people gathered outside carrying red flowers in a show of solidarity with Alina.

The Prince of Wales said at the time that he regarded this as an unfortunate but trivial incident

Palace spokeswoman
The incident happened as the prince went on a walkabout in Riga in November.

Alina reportedly carried out the attack as a protest against the war in Afghanistan.

Prince Charles was said to be relieved at the court's decision.

"The Prince of Wales said at the time that he regarded this as an unfortunate but trivial incident, and that he hoped this would be taken into account by the Latvian authorities," said a spokeswoman at St James's Palace.

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