With the fast-paced nature of the media, we can follow the revelations, twists, rises and falls of high profile criminal and civil cases as they unfold – with more immediacy than any previous generation. As we wait for the justice system to run its course, the case concerning Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre has been particularly playing on my mind.

Jesus calls Christians to pursue justice, yet refrain from judging others – but how do we navigate this when a case is of such public interest? 

Something has uniquely challenged the way I process my thoughts and emotions in relation to public cases of this nature. I am desperate to see perpetrators of violence against women and girls brought to justice and to see victims and survivors vindicated. But I also passionately believe that as Christians we must long to see justice carried out in court rooms – and refrain from passing judgement in the court of public opinion. 

The story so far


In July 2019, American financier Jeffery Epstein was charged by federal prosecutors with one count of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. 

In December 2021, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of recruiting and trafficking young girls to be sexually abused by the late Epstein. 

In August 2021, Ms Giuffre filed a civil case in New York accusing Prince Andrew of sexual assault and battery on Ms Giuffre when she was 17

Prince Andrew’s lawyers said the complaint against him should be dismissed, citing a 2009 deal Guiffre signed with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. But last week, New York judge Lewis A Kaplan ruled that the case would continue. 

Prince Andrew has consistently denied the claims made against him. 

What comes next?

The decision means that unless the Prince can overturn the decision on appeal, this case is heading towards litigation, unless it is settled. 

You might be surprised to know as I was, that only five per cent of cases that are filed in the USA court ever reach a trial. Settlements are far more common. Going to court takes a huge amount of work and emotional toil, and whether plaintive or defendant, innocent or guilty, cross examination can be a brutal process. 

However, Ms Giuffre has said she won’t enter a settlement without an admission of liability, which would be highly unusual. David Boies, Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, has said: I think it’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims”. 

It seems that whatever happens with this case, we will ultimately hear an announcement of guilty’ or not guilty’. 

As with all news stories, we will be wise to remember that there is always a narrative being spun. Whatever claims of neutrality news agencies may have, things are always presented to us, as the audience, in a way to hook us in and keep us watching. 

A heart for justice

As I absorb the facts, images and speculation I am confronted with my own biases. 

We worship a God who is truth. However, as sinful people we have all at some point chosen to reject that truth and chosen to tell, believe and live lies. It’s therefore important to take time to reflect on and admit our biases when it comes to the pursuit of justice. What kind of people am I likely to believe and what kind of people am I likely to assume are lying? 

I see the danger of my own biases, and we see the danger of them every day as cancel culture dictates where people stand. Our opinions and assumptions are not safe measures of who is right and wrong, and who deserves to be judged guilty”. Jesus told his followers on several occasions to be wary of judging others. 

God has, in His kindness, given us biblical models for justice, and given humans the creativity and wisdom to create good justice systems – a process for the truth to be found and examined and justice to be carried out. These systems are always imperfect, but much better than the court of public opinion. 

The Bible and the law in the UK and USA follow a justice system of innocent until proven guilty. How this plays out on a personal scale is very complex, but that does mean that if we hear of a public figure that’s been accused of sexual assault we should allow, and want, justice to be carried out properly by those in a position to do it. Justice should be carried out in the courts, not in quiet conversations with our friends. 

It is worth acknowledging that historically women’s words have been ignored. If we look at the resurrection of Jesus, God chooses women to be the first to see His risen Son, even though at the time women’s testimonies would have been totally ignored in a court of law. Jesus flips the social norm and says these women are to be believed. However, this teaches us more than simply that women are to be believed. This teaches us that as God’s people we are not to dismiss others or what they say because of who they are.

"Justice should be carried out in the courts, not in quiet conversations with our friends."

Jesus will ultimately carry out perfect justice 

I long to see justice for victims of violence against women and girls in the world today. I hope and pray for our justice systems to do this fairly, quickly, and without causing more trauma for those involved. But ultimately, I must remind myself of the promises of Jesus and who He is. That He is a King of justice. 

Jesus came to bind up the broken-hearted” and comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1 – 3). He is able to do the miraculous and replace the shame and mourning victims may feel with joy. And Jesus will one day bring a day of ultimate justice. We know that He is the good and perfect judge, and we can trust all things into His hands, and know all wrongdoing will be dealt with. 

And I must remember that I am a saved sinner, only rescued from judgement myself because He has lavished me with His unending grace.