Prince Andrew does NOT have diplomatic immunity over sex abuse lawsuit by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts

Prince Andrew does NOT have diplomatic immunity over sex abuse lawsuit by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts

August 10, 2021

PRINCE Andrew does not have diplomatic immunity that could protect him from a sex abuse lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

The 61-year-old is facing a new wave of trouble over his links to the disgraced paedo financer – and its believed his status as a Royal will not be able to help him.

It is the first time he has been subject to litigation over the allegations that Roberts, then 17, was forced to have sex with him after being trafficked by Epstein and his alleged "madam" Ghislaine Maxwell.

Andrew fiercely denies any allegations, says he has no memory of even meeting Roberts, and has said he had no suspicions of Epstein's wrongdoing during their friendship.

Roberts' new 15-page lawsuit- which is pursuing substantial damages over her allegations – is reopening the case to scrutiny as she claims she was "lent out for sexual purposes" and "compelled" to have sex with Andrew.

It is believed that the Duke of York will not be able to invoke the special diplomatic immunity which is enjoyed by his mum, The Queen.

Members of the the immediate royal household are considered immune- but Andrew is not believed to be included in this bracket, especially after he stepped back from his duties.

Bob Morris, a constitutional law professor at UCL, told The Sun Online in December 2019: "[Sovereign immunity] is a concept devised to protect the position of heads of state, but heads of state only, not the members of their family in their function as head of state. And you can't have more than one head of the state.

"So it doesn't apply to the members of people's families, there is no logic in doing so.

"Andrew is in the same position as any other UK citizen.

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"He has no particular personal immunity, although he will be better advised than many private members in this country of course… he has access to very good legal advice and I'm sure he will now be in mind to take account of it."

His older brother Charles was sued in 1978 after a visit to a college in Ohio- and was granted immunity by the US as it was during an official visit which was deemed a "special diplomatic mission".

However, Andrew's alleged visits to Epstein's house in Manhattan and his private island in the Caribbean are unlikely to be considered official business.

Charles also enjoys higher status as a royal as he is the heir-to-throne.

And his older sister Princess Anne also showed that royals cannot invoke that immunity when she was convicted of a criminal offence in 2002.

She pleaded guilty to a charge that one of her dogs attacked two children – becoming the first senior royal to attend court for 100 years.

Ben Keith, an extradition law expert at Five St Andrew's Hill, previously told the Sun Online: "In terms of sovereign immunity, that's for the sovereign."

He said diplomatic immunity was attached to the Duke's role when he was UK trade envoy, a role he stood down from in 2011.

I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions

In January 2020, Daniel Sternberg, a barrister specializing in extradition law at Temple Garden Chambers in London, told the BBC: 'It is important to remember that Prince Andrew has not been charged with any offense in the US. 

"The FBI is investigating whether he has material evidence that could assist in its criminal investigation of alleged sex trafficking.

"While there is no way to compel Prince Andrew to give evidence in the UK or the US in either the civil or criminal case, his failure to do so does not sit well with his previous public statements that he would help any appropriate law enforcement agency with its inquiries." 

With these precedents in mind, it seems Andrew could be left open to litigation as the US justice department have vowed to go after anyone it considers "co-conspirators" of Epstein.

"Prince Andrew was acting in his individual, personal capacity, and was not performing any duty relating to his former role as a trade envoy, any duty relating to his role as a member of the Royal Family of the United Kingdom, or any other official or diplomatic duty or function," the lawsuit states.

Andrew has previously pledged to assist with any investigation into his former friend, but there has been a long running war of words between his team and US prosecutors about how much assistance he has offered them.

However, US officials have previously insisted they are not seeking to extradite Andrew.

Ms Giuffre's new lawsuit comes almost two years to the day after Epstein, 66, was found dead in a New York jail awaiting trial for conspiracy and child sex trafficking charges.

Andrew is named as the only defendant in the suit, brought under New York state's Child Victims Act, though Epstein and his former girlfriend Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.

Ms Giuffre is seeking unknown amounts of compensation and punitive damages over the allegations. 

Court documents claim Ms Giuffre was "lent out for sexual purposes" by convicted sex offender Epstein including while she was still a minor under US law.

She claims she was "compelled by express or implied threats" by Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with Andrew and "feared death or physical injury" if she disobey any of them due to their "powerful connections, wealth and authority".

The Duke allegedly engaged in the sexual acts without Ms Giuffre's consent, while aware of her age and while "knowing that she was a sex-trafficking victim", the documents claim.

The docs add the alleged assaults "have caused, and continue to cause her, significant emotional and psychological distress and harm".

"Prince Andrew's actions, described above, constitute extreme and outrageous conduct that shocks the conscience," the lawsuit stated as it described the emotional distress suffered by Ms Giuffre.

"Prince Andrew's sexual abuse of a child who he knew was a sex-trafficking victim, and when he was approximately 40 years old, goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilised community," it added.

In a statement Ms Giuffre, who lives in Australia, said: "I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. 

“I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice.

"I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates. 

“But I knew that if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down.”

In a previous statement, the Palace said: "It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.

"Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation."


Since denying the allegations Ms Giuffre’s lawyers claim that they have made multiple attempts to contact the Duke and his legal team but have been ignored. 

According to her lawyer the latest letter sent to Prince Andrew was sent last month, and warned that a lawsuit could be filed.

In a infamous Newsnight interview with the BBC's Emily Maitlis in November 2019, Andrew denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre and said he had "no recollection" of ever meeting her.

He also said he has no memory of the well-known photograph of him with his arm around Ms Giuffre's waist at Maxwell's house, and has questioned whether it was his own hand in the image.

The fallout from the interview saw the royal criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with disgraced financier.

Andrew quit his royal duties and publicly promised to co-operate with US authorities investigating Epstein's crimes, though has since faced a war of words between his camp and American authorities over his availability to answer questions.

Espstein hanged himself in his prison cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking offences.

Maxwell was arrested last July and is set to go on trial in November for allegedly recruiting underage girls for sex for the disgraced New York financier.

She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Sun Online has contacted a representative for Prince Andrew for comment on the new lawsuit.

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