Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Is Prince Andrew above the law?

Since the UK has no written constitution it is perhaps to early to work out the full impact of yesterday's supreme court ruling that has effectively overruled the executive (UK government) and Head of State ( Queen of England).

There is one major difference with other states that have such separation of powers however ,

Whereas parliamentary and the judiciary   who are involved in any scandal the Monarch and her immediate family are protected by a wall of silence.

The BBC report that,

University of South Wales should not have hosted Prince Andrew in Newport while he faces "serious allegations", Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood has said.
American woman Virginia Giuffre, who says she had sex with the Duke of York when she was 17, recently told a US TV network she was "trafficked" to him.
Prince Andrew has denied having "any form of sexual contact or relationship" with Ms Giuffre.
The university said the event, aimed at entrepreneurs, was arranged months ago.
University of South Wales hosted the prince's Pitch@Palace event, aimed at helping the work of entrepreneurs, on Tuesday.
Buckingham Palace, on behalf of the prince, has said the claims against him were "false and without any foundation".

Ms Giuffre is one of several women who claim they were abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
The financier was accused of paying underage girls to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.
A controversial secret plea deal in 2008 saw him plead guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He received an 18-month prison sentence and was released on probation in 2010.

During the summer Prince Andrew defended his former friendship with Epstein after footage emerged reportedly showing the prince at his mansion in Manhattan in 2010.
He said it was a "mistake" to meet Epstein after he left prison in 2010, but said "at no stage" did he "see or suspect" any criminal behaviour.
"During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year," the 59-year-old prince said.
Ms Wood said the visit, which took place at the university's Newport campus, was alarming.
Speaking in the Senedd, she said: "I was alarmed to see that the monarch's second son has been invited to attend a campus of the University of South Wales.
"While I'm a firm believer in the principle of innocent until proven guilty this member of the royal family has been accused of some very serious crimes and abuses of power."
She said his association with Jeffrey Epstein and the allegations made by Virginia Giuffre should be enough to ensure that this man is not welcome to the University of South Wales, while such serious allegations without any adequate explanation are hanging over his head."
"The allegations should not mean business as usual," Ms Wood said, adding she believed the event could damage the university's credibility.
 Ms Wood asked government business minister Rebecca Evans "pressure can the Welsh Government bring to bear so that institutions under its charge do not have guests in this unsavoury situation welcomed into the campus with open arms".Ms Evans said: "Universities in Wales are independent and autonomous institutions, and it is a matter for universities as to whom they invite onto their campuses.
"Welsh Government has no say in such matters."
A university spokesperson said: "We hosted a Pitch@Palace event as part of our commitment to support the development of entrepreneurs within our region. We were asked to host the event some months ago.
"We were pleased to welcome entrepreneurs and start-up businesses into our University to encourage their growth."
Students were not in the audience at the event on the university's Newport campus, it added.
The events following the revelations  following the death of Jimmy Saville  led to to Operation Yewtree  a police investigation to sexual abuse allegations, predominantly the abuse of children, against the British media personality Savile and others. The investigation, led by the Metropolitan Police Service, started in October 2012. After a period of assessment it became a full criminal investigation, involving inquiries into living people, notably other celebrities as well as Savile.
The report of the investigations into the activities of Savile himself was published, as Giving Victims a Voice, in January 2013. Operation Yewtree continued as an investigation into others, some but not all linked with Savile. By October 2015, 19 people had been arrested by Operation Yewtree; seven of these arrests led to convictions. The "Yewtree effect" has been credited for an increase in the number of reported sex crimes,[3] while the operation also sparked a debate on police procedure and rights of those accused of sex crimes.

I don't know to what extent the allegations against Prince Andrew resemble the investigation of operation Yew Tree or whether there is a case to answer.

However his position should not exempt himself from any investigation, that would be carried out on any citizen of these Islands.

He should have withdrawn from any public duties whilst any investigation takes place over  the allegations.

But there's the rub , he appears to be above the law and he is unlikely to face any criminal charges if he has a case to answer and that is a scandal in itself. 

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