A lawyer representing alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein in the UK has said people should feel “emboldened” to come forward and report abuse after the Metropolitan Police commissioner said that “no one is above the law”.
Dame Cressida Dick made the comments when asked about the sexual assault lawsuit filed this week in America against the Duke of York by Virginia Giuffre, allegations that Prince Andrew denies.
Jill Greenfield, head of personal injury at law firm Fieldfisher, who represents alleged victims of Epstein in the UK, praised the “strong message” from the commissioner.
She said: “It’s really important messaging for victims to hear that from someone who’s so senior in the Metropolitan Police because victims very often think that they’re not going to be believed or listened to.
“Quite often there is a dynamic of power in these instances when people are assaulted.
Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein and abused by Prince Andrew on three occasions in 2001 – allegations he denies. Pic: Shutterstock
“So no one is above the law is a really strong set of words.
“That’s absolutely right and victims need to listen to that and need to be emboldened and feel that they can report allegations of sexual assault in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously and listened to… ‘no one is above law’, that’s a great message to send to women and to men who are victims of sexual assault, of course, and to say actually, we’re not going to accept this, we are going to investigate it.”
Virginia Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein and abused by Prince Andrew on three occasions in 2001 – allegations that the prince has always strenuously denied and said are “false and without foundation”.
Ms Giuffre alleges that a photograph of her and the Duke of York was taken in London on the first night she was abused.
Asked if the Metropolitan Police would look again at the claims, Dame Cressida Dick said a review into the case is under way but no investigation is taking place.
Prince Andrew is ‘not above the law’
She told LBC: “It’s been reviewed twice before. We’ve worked closely with the CPS and we are of course open to working with authorities from overseas.
“We will give them every assistance if they ask us for anything – within the law – and as a result of what’s going on I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material,” she said.
“No one is above the law,” she added.
Ms Greenfield said she regularly gets phone calls about people in positions of power.
Asked how difficult it can be for her clients to come forward and ask for help, she said: “There’s a real fear factor of what the repercussions will be, particularly if they’re reporting things to the police.”
She added: “I’ve obviously won civil claims for people for some financial support, but actually it’s not really about that, it’s about being believed, and listening to them.
“Quite often when I’ve heard and spoken to people they may not have spoken to anyone else about what happened to them many years ago, and it’s a real privilege to be in a position to help people in those situations…
“So I think [Dame Cressida] saying that, using those words, ‘no one is above the law’, that’s a great comment to make from someone who absolutely I would expect to make it. And I would hope that people will listen to that.”
The Metropolitan Police have made it clear that to date, working with the Crown Prosecution Service, they haven’t found anything to warrant criminal charges against Prince Andrew or convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his prison cell in America in 2019.
Prince Andrew, who earlier this week travelled to Scotland with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and his legal team have not made any comment on the lawsuit since it was filed on Monday, but since 2015 have consistently denied the allegations made by Virginia Giuffre.