Prince Andrew accused of 'gaslighting' Virginia Giuffre amid court case

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Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Prince Andrew has been accused of "victim blaming" and "gaslighting" Virginia Giuffre (who is currently suing him for sexual assault) after his legal team demanded access to her mental health records in light of his suggestion that she "may suffer from false memories".

The Duke of York's lawyers have requested permission to inspect prescriptions written by Giuffre's psychologist Dr Judith Lightfoot, as well as the expert's notes from their sessions. His legal team also want to question Dr Lightfoot about Giuffre's "alleged emotional and psychological harm and damages" and plan to quiz her on the "theory of false memories".

But, the move has been criticised by some legal experts. "It's nothing more than victim blaming and gaslighting," Dr Charlotte Proudman, a barrister and Cambridge academic specialising in violence against women, told Sky News. "Looking through her intimate, personal records when she would have told that person that information in the strictest confidence."

According to Proudman, the Duke of York appears to be trying to use his accuser's medical records against her to discredit the claims she has made. "For that to be used, manipulated and twisted against her is likely to be harmful and extremely damaging, and probably will be traumatising. It's another form of abuse but this time through the court process."

Photo credit: Virginia Giuffre
Photo credit: Virginia Giuffre

"It's a really low tactic. It's the lowest of the low," the expert continued, before adding that she hopes Giuffre's legal team will oppose the request.

Of Prince Andrew's claims that his accuser may be suffering from false memories, she said it was: "the go-to tactic of alleged and found perpetrators to allege that victims have misremembered things."

But, a source close to the Duke of York (who last week was stripped of his military titles and His Royal Highness status) told Sky News that his legal team is "perfectly entitled to test her claims".

The insider continued: "Ms Giuffre put her mental health at issue by suing for emotional distress damages. The Duke's legal team are perfectly entitled to test her claims, determine her damages, if any, and see what she told her therapist or not."

Giuffre, who is now 38-years-old, is suing Prince Andrew in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was 17. She claims she was trafficked by the Duke's friend, convicted peadophile Jeffrey Epstein, to have sex with him. However, the royal has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

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