January 26, 2022

Prince Andrew to face civil sexual assault case after US ruling

It means the case against the Duke of York, 61, could be heard in court later this year.

Prince Andrew to face civil sexual assault case after US ruling

Prince Andrew to face civil sexual assault case after US ruling photo credit: BBC

Prince Andrew is set to face a civil case in the US over allegations that he sexually assaulted a young woman when she was only 17.

Virginia Giuffre is suing the prince, claiming that he abused her in 2001. His lawyers claimed that the complaint should be dismissed, citing a deal she signed in 2009 with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein but a New York judge ruled that the case could continue.

Prince Andrew has consistently denied the claims and Buckingham Palace have said that it would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.

The motion to dismiss the lawsuit was outlined in a 46-page decision by Judge Lewis A Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

It means the case against the Duke of York, 61, could be heard in court later this year.

Judge Kaplan said his ruling did not determine the “truth or falsity” of Ms Giuffre’s complaint.

Giuffre said that she was “pleased” that Prince Andrew’s attempt to dismiss the case had been denied and “that evidence will now be taken concerning her claims against him”. A statement issued by her lawyer, David Boies, added: “She looks forward to a judicial determination of the merits of those claims.”

In his decision, Judge Kaplan dismissed Prince Andrew’s contention that the case against him was “legally insufficient” and could not go on to be heard at a future trial.

He said the court was not able to consider at this stage whether Prince Andrew was covered by the settlement agreement, describing it as “ambiguous”. He said that his ruling did not consider the “defendant’s efforts to cast doubt on the truth of Giuffre’s allegations, even though his efforts would be permissible at trial”.

Judge Kaplan added: “In a similar vein and for similar reasons, it is not open to the court now to decide, as a matter of fact, just what the parties to the release in the 2009 settlement agreement signed by Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein actually meant.”

Prince Andrew’s lawyers could potentially launch an appeal against Judge Kaplan’s decision – although they would need his permission to do so, and legal commentators say the wording of his decision suggests it would not be granted.

Sources: BBC, Sowetan LIVE

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