Jacques Boël will have his say

  • “Mrs. De Selys’ truth is not exactly Mr. Boël’s,” according to his attorney.
  • Attorneys are skeptical about requesting a DNA sample from Laurent.                    

The new judicial proceeding launched by Delphine Boël was introduced in the 12th chamber of the Brussels court of first instance on Monday. It has the support of her mother, Sybille de Selys, to try to prove that Albert II is her father. As planned, the hearing was for the sole purpose of setting the court calendar. However, other issues were raised outside the courtroom.

The calendar. Delphine Boël’s lawsuit concerns two people: her legal father, Jacques Boël, seeking his disavowal of paternity, and Albert II, seeking to establish that he is her biological father.

Monday, the parties agreed on a calendar for the exchange of conclusions. Philippe Grégoire, the attorney for Jacques Boël, will send his preliminary conclusions to the other parties on October 21. A few weeks later, Berenboom and Hiernaux, attorneys for King Albert II, will deliver theirs and then Delphine Boël’s attorney, Alain De Jonge, will deliver his.

Each then will have the right to a second round of briefs, called summary conclusions, to respond to each other’s arguments. This second round will close on July 7, 2014. The pleading may be held in September or October 2014 – the dates will be set in the near future.

Jacques Boël’s strategy. As of now, we know the strategies of two of the three parties but not that of Jacques Boël. Tuesday, his attorney revealed very little. “Mr. Boël advised me of his position,” Philippe Grégoire explained, “and I will inform the other parties in writing” in the coming days. What is his position? Will Jacques Boël confirm or deny Delphine’s paternity? Will he accept or refuse a DNA test?

The attorney did not respond to these questions, but mentioned two factors: first, his client “will not simply wait to take a position.” That is, he will not go before the court and hide behind emergency proceedings but will take his own position. Second, “Mrs. de Selys’ truth is not exactly the same as Mr. Boël’s.” Is that regarding paternity or something else? “This concerns the facts that she provided and whether they are connected with Mr. Boël. He is not claiming that she has made inexact statements, but that she has omitted details that might be important.” According to her, when she was pregnant with Delphine, Sybille de Selys thought her husband was the child’s father.

Jacques Boël “does not want to speak publicly.” However, there is a great deal of pressure on him, since his family has several members among the nobility. Some are directly tied to the royal family. One of his first cousin’s sons married Mathilde’s sister.

Delphine Boël’s case. Delphine Boël’s attorney has sent a case file containing his arguments to each of the parties, so that they can review his conclusions. These documents are supposed to prove that Albert is Delphine’s father. According to our information, this file contains a letter written by Albert that mentions his daughter. Could that be sufficient proof of the King’s relationship to Delphine? The opposing parties argue that at the time the letter was written, Albert was basing his statements on Sybille de Selys’ assurances that Delphine was his daughter. They also argue that this does not prove that he is her biological father.

The case file also mentions various incidents in which Delphine felt she was the victim of discrimination by those who did not want to anger the Palace. Delphine Boël can only demand a DNA sample from King Albert if all other methods are exhausted.

The king’s strategy. Last week one of Albert II’s attorneys stated that his client is formally contesting that he may be Delphine’s father. Will he refuse a DNA test? That is how some interpret this statement. The king’s strategy may be to do everything possible to avoid having to respond to this question. That is, to try to have the proceeding contesting Jacques Boël’s paternity ruled inadmissible because the statute of limitations has expired. In that case the proceeding to recognize Albert as Delphine’s biological father would not take place.

Laurent’s DNA. Laurent’s attorney, Pierre Legros, led us to understand on Sunday that, if someone asks him, Laurent would agree to a DNA test. Delphine Boël’s attorney told us he would “think about” that possibility, without making a decision. Other attorneys are skeptical. The king’s lawyers explained that resorting to using a brother or sister’s DNA is usually done when there is no way to obtain the father’s DNA.

The Palace, holding to its policy in the matter, had no reaction. Is Laurent trying to annoy his father or his brother? On the contrary, it seems he wants to improve his relationship with the new king (that will be judged over the long term), since Philippe has given him more responsibility than did his predecessor. Laurent, as well as Astrid, will represent Philippe on certain occasions, which did not happen under Albert. In fact, Laurent and Claire will stand in for Philippe and Mathilde in Ghent on Wednesday at a gala event.



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