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Updated: March 9, 2010 20:25 IST

Court sentences German royal to pay high fine

AP
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Princess Caroline of Monaco, right, with former South African President Nelson Mandela, left, during a photo opportunity in Johannesburg. File photo: AP.
Princess Caroline of Monaco, right, with former South African President Nelson Mandela, left, during a photo opportunity in Johannesburg. File photo: AP.

Princess Caroline of Monaco’s husband was convicted in Germany on Tuesday of a decade—old altercation in Kenya and fined euro 200,000 ($270,000).

Hildesheim state court Judge Andreas Schlueter, found Ernst August von Hannover guilty on Tuesday of intentionally causing bodily harm to a Kenyan hotelier, German news agency DAPD reported.

The judge followed the prosecution’s request and fined him the equivalent of 40 days of his salary, which the court estimated at euro 5,000 daily. Ernst August has refused to disclose his finances to the court.

The 56—year—old great—grandson of the last German emperor, Wilhelm II, was retried after being convicted in 2004 and fined euro 445,000.

Ernst August did not deny the assault but was seeking to have his sentence reduced. While the fine is lower than in the previous ruling, his lawyers could not secure the acquittal they tried to obtain.

In the first trial, Ernst August was ruled to have hit hotelier Josef Bruhnlehner, on the Kenyan holiday island of Lamu repeatedly with a metal ring that he was wearing. The prince and Caroline, however, maintained he only slapped the man in the 2001 incident and Bruhnlehner greatly exaggerated his injuries.

Caroline testified behind closed doors on her husband’s behalf in a 2008 hearing that led to the retrial. In January, the princess, 53, testified again for him publicly at the Hildesheim court, arguing that Bruhnlehner was exaggerating.

Kenyan authorities did not arrest Ernst August after the incident, but it was pursued in Germany where the law allows prosecutors to charge citizens who commit crimes abroad.

It is not Ernst August’s first run—in with the law; he was fined in 1999 for attacking a German photographer and had his driver’s license suspended for a month in 2003 for speeding on a French highway.

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