Dunn family ‘unable to sue teenager’s alleged killer due to police delay’
Harry Dunn’s parents have claimed they are unable to sue their son’s alleged killer due to a delay in police handing over an accident investigation report.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn have said they asked for the report in early January in order to pursue a civil claim against 42-year-old US suspect Anne Sacoolas.
The family’s spokesman said the claim is essential in order for them to avoid “financial hardship” – adding that their financial position has been made “repeatedly clear” to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Northamptonshire Police.
He told the PA news agency that the family are considering making an application to court should they not receive the report by Friday.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said they have been working with the family’s lawyers and the CPS to identify material that could be released “without prejudicing any criminal trial”.
Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside a US military base in Northamptonshire in August last year.
The suspect in the case, Mrs Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official based at RAF Croughton, claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.
She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving last year but an extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in January.
The Dunn family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, said authorities are “conspiring to add to the family’s misery”
He told PA: “Harry’s family have, through their lawyer in Washington DC, been attempting to launch their civil claims in the USA for a number of months.
“One of the documents that the lawyers in America need is the police accident investigation report. We have been requesting it since early January.
“As the Crown Prosecution Service make clear in their own guidance, such requests for disclosure should generally be actioned as soon as possible.”
Mr Seiger continued: “The courts recognise the importance of families such as Harry’s being able to bring civil claims early on in order to avoid financial hardship.
“As has been made repeatedly clear to the CPS and Northamptonshire Police, that is exactly the position that the family find themselves in.
“Yet, all these months on, we still do not have the report.
“That is unforgivable and the authorities are now conspiring to add to the family’s misery as if they were not enduring enough misery.
“We have made it clear that we will be making an application to court in the next few days if it is not disclosed.”
In a statement, a spokesman for the force said: “Following the tragic death of Harry Dunn, Northamptonshire Police commenced a criminal investigation.
“A file of evidence was prepared and handed to the Crown Prosecution Service on November 1 2019.
“After considering the evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service authorised Northamptonshire Police to charge Anne Sacoolas with causing Harry’s death by dangerous driving.
“In December 2019, the CPS began extradition proceedings, which are ongoing.
“We remain committed to securing justice through the criminal justice system in the UK and will not take any action that will prejudice this.
“The family have indicated they wish to pursue a claim for compensation against Anne Sacoolas in the United States.
“We wish to support the family in that action and we have been working with the family’s lawyers and the Crown Prosecution Service to identify documentation that can be released without prejudicing any criminal trial.”