Tuesday, May 17, 2022

UK court confirms sexual harassment papers can be served on Prince Andrew

The High Court in London said on Wednesday it would take necessary action to file papers against Britain’s Prince Andrew in a US case filed by a woman who was accused of sexual harassment two decades ago.

The prince, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, Virginia Geoffrey, accused him of beating her when she was 17, at one point saying she was abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew 1-year-old Andrew, officially known as the Duke of York, has denied the allegations and his lawyers have described the case as baseless. His legal team declined to comment.

Last week, Geoffrey’s legal team said it tried to deliver documents to Andrew by leaving documents with a police officer at his home in the south of England. The prince’s lawyers told the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that they had not acted properly under English law and the Hague Convention.

A spokesman for the London High Court said the issue of how to claim parties under different jurisdictions is governed by the Hague Service Convention, which requires requests and approvals from the relevant authorities in each country.

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“Lawyers representing Mrs. Geoffrey have now provided further information to the High Court and the High Court has accepted the request for services under the Hague Service Convention,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“The legal process has not yet been completed but the High Court will now take steps to act under the convention unless the service is arranged by agreement between the parties.”

Manhattan hearing

At a hearing in Manhattan on Monday, the prince’s lawyer, Andrew Bretler, said Geoffrey appeared to have signed the right to sue the prince in 2009 to settle a separate lawsuit.

“This is a baseless, incompetent, potentially illegal lawsuit,” Bretler said. “There has been a settlement agreement that the plaintiff has taken a precedent that relieves the Duke and others of any and all possible liability.”

A former friend of Andrew Appstein, a registered sex offender, committed suicide in a Manhattan prison in August 2019 after allegations of sexual abuse of dozens of girls and women were brought against U.S. prosecutors.

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The prince withdrew from royal duties and charities, and other organizations distanced themselves from him after a BBC interview in November 2019 about his relationship with Epstein.

He denies having sex or any relationship with Geoffrey. Her lawsuit, filed last month, says she was forced to have unwanted sex at the London home of Ghiselin Maxwell, a British social worker and longtime associate of Epstein.

It also said Andrew abused Geoffrey at Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and at Epstein, a private island owned by the US Virgin Islands.

Maxwell has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Epstein’s sexual harassment. He faces a scheduled trial on Nov. 2 before U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan.

The next hearing in Giuffre’s case is scheduled for October 13.

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Nation World News Desk
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