Aussie police downgrade charges for mooning queen

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Australian police have downgraded charges against a man who mooned Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip as they drove past tens of thousands of well-wishers during a visit to the Australian east coast city of Brisbane.

Police told Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday that they have dropped a charge of willful exposure against 22-year-old Sydney barman Liam Lloyd Warriner for baring his buttocks to the 85-year-old British monarch and her 90-year-old husband in October. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

Defense attorney John-Paul Mould told Magistrate Brian Hine that Warriner will plead guilty to a lesser charge of creating a public nuisance and will appear for sentencing on Feb. 14. The charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

It is not clear whether the royal couple saw Warriner.

Warriner, who was not in court on Tuesday, has admitted holding an Australian flag clenched between his bare buttocks and running as the royal couple's motorcade drove by.

But he maintained that he did not expose his genitals as alleged in the willful exposure charge.

"The Queen's car was actually moving quite fast. I couldn't exactly keep up with it," he told The Courier-Mail website from Sydney.

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