Lawyers claim Duke of York has been served with legal papers over sexual assault allegations
Lawyers for the woman suing the Duke of York over sexual assault allegations have claimed to have served legal papers on him, according to a document filed in a New York court.
The legal counsel, who represent Virginia Giuffre, say in the document that the civil lawsuit was handed to a Metropolitan Police officer who was on duty at the main gates of The Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park, on August 27 at 9.30am.
The filing says this is “consistent with the provisions for service upon an individual defendant, under Section 6 of the Civil Procedure Rules, as required by the Supreme Court of Judicature in England & Wales”.
Blackfords, who said they represent the duke “in certain UK matters”, raised questions in an email on September 6 about how the papers were served.
In a document, they wrote: “We reiterate that our client reserves all his rights, including to contest the jurisdiction of the US courts (including on the basis of potentially defective service).”
They added Ms Guiffre’s claim may not be viable, citing a 2009 release in a separate court case in Florida.
Representatives for Ms Giuffre, however, stated in a court document that the assertion regarding the 2009 release was an “erroneous suggestion” by Blackfords.
Ms Giuffre has sued the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
She claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the duke, when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
Andrew has vehemently denied all the allegations.
In documents filed to the US district court for the southern district of New York on Friday, the lawyers state there was a first attempt to serve the papers on the duke on August 26, when an agent went to Windsor Great Park.
They state that a Metropolitan Police officer, who was the head of security, told the agent officers were not able to accept service of any court process, or let anyone trying to serve legal papers on to the property.
The agent returned the next day and was told the court process could be left with the police officer at the main gate “and that this matter would then be forwarded on to the legal team”.
The document says the complaint, the summons and other papers were enclosed “in a plastic sleeve and then in an A4 envelope, addressed to the said defendant, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, at the address” and then left with the police officer.
It says within 21 days of the summons the plaintiff must be served an answer to the complaint, and “if you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint”.
Andrew has stepped back from public duties amid the fallout from his relationship with Epstein.
It came after a 2019 Newsnight interview which saw him attempt to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein, who died in prison two years ago, but ended up being dubbed a “car-crash”.
According to the Daily Mail, he was last seen arriving at the royal Scottish retreat of Balmoral Castle in August and was thought to have been accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.
Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed the civil suit citing allegations of battery by sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Duke.
Buckingham Palace refused to comment.
A spokeswoman representing Andrew also declined to comment.
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