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Prince Andrew has spent the last two years victim blaming, claims ex-chief prosecutor
16 February 2022, 12:48
A former chief prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service has told LBC Prince Andrew has "spent the last two years victim blaming" and that the handling of Virginia Giuffre's case against him may deter victims of sexual abuse from coming forward.
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Nazir Afzal OBE told LBC's James O'Brien that the tactics employed by the Prince's legal team were similar to those of "people who are working on behalf of predators" in sexual assault cases.
"The Prince has spent the last two years victim blaming," said Mr Afzal.
"He's been saying that victims are lying... he was saying that they have false memories.
"These are the kinds of things that I have heard over the years from people who are working on behalf of predators in relation to people who have been traumatised by the most horrific abuse."
When discussing the impact the case may have on future - or past - victims, the former prosecutor said: "They will have heard what's been said very publicly over the last two years by the Prince and his legal team, which will have reminded them of what they have gone through and will have deterred many others from coming forward.
"That's why I'm angry."
He cited the already low conviction rate for rape in the UK, and highlighted the treatment that those who do come forward are often subjected to in court.
"We also have to remember we only have a 1 per cent conviction rate for rape in this country," he said.
"People are extraordinarily courageous if they come forward, extraordinarily courageous if they give evidence, they then suffer this constant reframe that 'you're making it up', 'you're lying', 'you're mentally ill', whatever it may be."
He added: "I'm angry because it's [already] a struggle to encourage and support victims to come forward, and so many of them [have] chosen not to."
Mr Afzal also said the fact Prince Andrew had settled instead of going to court "damages victims, it damages survivors".
"He used every technique... in the book, to try and get this case kicked out, lost every legal argument, had only one option now which was to give evidence or not defend the claim, and they ended up paying an enormous amount of money in order to prevent that day in court," he said, adding it "damages justice, it damages victims, it damages survivors, it makes us think that power, money, gives you enormous privilege".
"You've got to ask yourself this question - does having money, does having power, mean that you can escape any form of justice?" He questioned.
He said the UK must "establish a situation" where people can make a sexual assault allegation and go to court without the defendant having "impunity".
Mr Afzal also questioned the role of the Metropolitan Police since the allegations were made.
"Where is the Metropolitan Police on all this?" He asked.
"Because in 2015, Virginia Giuffre made a complaint to the police, they told her then that there was no case to answer, they told her again in 2019 there was no case to answer, in 2021 she was told again... there was no case to answer."
He added: "The fact that they have dragged their heels in the last six or seven years doesn't fill me with great confidence."