CPS tells family of road crash victim Harry Dunn that it will continue to pursue prosecution against his ‘killer’ Anne Sacoolas despite High Court ruling that she had diplomatic immunity
- Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike hit car on the wrong side of the road
- American Anne Sacoolas was driving it by RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire
- Sacoolas, 43, was ultimately charged with causing death by dangerous driving
- Judges ruled last month she had diplomatic immunity ‘on arrival in the UK’
The Crown Prosecution Service has told Harry Dunn’s parents it will continue to pursue the prosecution of their son’s alleged killer, despite the High Court ruling she had diplomatic immunity.
Mr Dunn, 19, died when his motorbike was hit by a car being driven on the wrong side of the road by American Anne Sacoolas outside RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, on August 27 last year.
Sacoolas, 43, was charged with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving 12 months ago after the fatal road crash.
Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East Midlands, Janine Smith, wrote to the 19-year-old motorcyclist’s family just before the anniversary of the CPS’s charging decision, to say she was ‘satisfied that there remains sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.’
Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car being driven on the wrong side of the road by American Anne Sacoolas outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire
Sacoolas was able to return to her home country after the US Government asserted diplomatic immunity on her behalf, sparking an international controversy.
Despite the charging decision by the CPS, and an extradition request submitted by the Home Office, the US State Department refused to return her to the UK – describing the decision as ‘final’.
In a meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions in September, the family was told the CPS had concluded Sacoolas did not have immunity at the time of the collision.
The family had contested the diplomatic immunity asserted on behalf of the suspect, but High Court judges accepted the Foreign Office’s position that Sacoolas ‘enjoyed immunity from UK criminal jurisdiction’.
Mr Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have been granted permission to appeal against the judgment.
Following the High Court decision last month, Mr Dunn sobbed after hearing the news and said: ‘I still wake up every morning in absolute disbelief that we are in this situation at all. It’s bad enough feeling the horrible pain of not having Harry around and missing him, but I can’t believe the [US and British] governments are putting us through this.
Mr Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn (pictured November 24 with spokesman Radd Seiger centre), claim the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office wrongly decided Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity and unlawfully obstructed Northamptonshire Police’s investigation into their son’s death by keeping the force ‘in the dark’
Mr Dunn broke down after the High Court decision in November and was comforted by Charlotte as they vowed to fight on for their son
‘It all seems so cruel and needless and I am just as angry today as I ever have been but so determined to see it all through until we have justice.’
In Ms Smith’s letter to Mrs Charles and Mr Dunn she said: ‘I wanted to take the opportunity to provide an update following our consideration of the recent High Court judgment.
‘Having considered the judgment, and notwithstanding the outcome in respect of diplomatic immunity, I am satisfied that there remains sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it remains in the public interest for the prosecution to continue.
‘The CPS remains of the view that Mrs Sacoolas should return to the UK to stand trial.
‘I do hope this confirmation is of some small comfort to Harry’s family and friends at this challenging time of the year.’
Mrs Charles said the family would be ‘nowhere’ without the CPS – adding that she was ‘really pleased’ with Ms Smith’s letter.
She told PA: ‘My family and I are really pleased to see this letter from the CPS.
‘We are approaching our second Christmas without Harry and without justice for Harry.
‘Our pain is raw and real and we need to get this done sooner rather than later.
‘In our darkest hour we know we can continue to count on the CPS to continue to do their job. We would be nowhere without them.’
The family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, said he believed the letter showed the ‘CPS remain of the view’ that Anne Sacoolas was not entitled to diplomatic immunity.
He said: ‘This is an important letter from the Chief Crown Prosecutor.
‘It signals yet again that the CPS remain of the view, as do Harry’s parents on legal advice, that Anne Sacoolas did not have diplomatic immunity at the time of the crash and intend to proceed with their prosecution of her notwithstanding the judgment of the High Court.
‘We have always been clear on that issue.
‘We look forward to holding talks with both governments in the new year to bring the family’s torture to an end.’
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