Harry Dunn death: Path clear for virtual trial, says foreign secretary

Harry Dunn
Harry Dunn was killed after a crash outside RAF Croughton in August 2019 (Image: Justice4Harry)

The path is clear for the UK to seek a virtual trial in the case of Harry Dunn, the foreign secretary has said.

The 19-year-old died near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019 when a car driven by suspect Anne Sacoolas hit his motorbike.

She later left the country, claiming diplomatic immunity.

“I would like to see some accountability. I think the family deserve no less,” Dominic Raab told the BBC.

Harry Dunn’s parents said they “welcome the development” of a potential virtual trial.

Mrs Sacoolas’s car struck Harry Dunn’s motorbike moments after she left the RAF base in Northamptonshire where her husband worked for a US intelligence agency.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised Northamptonshire Police to charge her with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving, but an extradition request was rejected by the US government. The maximum sentence for the charge is 14 years.

Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The US has not agreed to the extradition, but the path is clear for the legal authorities in the UK to approach Anne Sacoolas’s lawyers – without any problem from the US government – to see whether some kind of virtual trial or process could allow some accountability and some solace and some justice for the Dunn family.”

He said it is for the UK’s legal authorities “to deal with the Sacoolas lawyers and also the justice system on the US side”.

Radd Seiger, spokesman for Harry Dunn’s parents, said: “It is a huge development and we are grateful to the politicians for making this possible.

“This campaign has never been about vengeance or retribution, but about accountability for the loss of their totally innocent son.

“That is what any of us would want and that is what must now be delivered.”

Last year, the Dunn family’s constituency MP, Andrea Leadsom, said a virtual trial would see Mrs Sacoolas go through the court process in England, but she would remain in the US throughout, including any sentence handed down.

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he and US President Joe Biden were “working together” to resolve the case.

Mr Raab said President Biden had “empathised from his own personal experience and it was very moving, genuinely”.

The president lost his first wife, Neilia Hunter, and their one-year-old daughter Naomi in a car crash in 1972.

Harry Dunn’s family want Mrs Sacoolas to be stripped of diplomatic immunity in order to face a British court over the death.

The US said she has diplomatic immunity – meaning there can be no criminal prosecution.

International rules protect officials and their families from unjust interference from host nations while they are stationed abroad.

The CPS has so far insisted that Mrs Sacoolas must be extradited to the UK.

Analysis box by Dominic Casciani, home and legal correspondent

What a virtual trial means in practice is unclear.

The CPS has so far insisted that Mrs Sacoolas must be extradited to the UK.

A criminal trial on US soil, under modern English law, would be a first since the British lost the American Revolutionary War in 1783 and therefore highly unlikely.

But Mrs Sacoolas’ lawyers have previously also said she is willing to serve some kind of community sentence at home.

Source: bbc.co.uk

About World Justice News 2615 Articles
Brings you breaking crime news and other interesting crime stories from around the world.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply