Harry Dunn’s alleged killer ‘interested in’ virtual trial in UK

Harry Dunn’s alleged killer has always been interested in, and remains willing to discuss the possibility of, a virtual trial in the UK, the PA news agency understands.

Anne Sacoolas was charged with causing the 19-year-old’s death by dangerous driving following a road crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August last year.

Sources close to the 43-year-old said despite the consideration of a virtual trial from the Attorney General’s office in the UK, she had not yet been approached about the matter.

Harry Dunn death
Mr Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles has called for Sacoolas’s return to the UK since her departure last September (Ben Birchall/PA)

PA understands Sacoolas wishes to speak with British authorities to find a path forward.

The American suspect claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash which killed Mr Dunn and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

An extradition request, submitted by the Home Office, was refused by the US State Department, a decision later described as “final”.

A virtual trial is under the consideration of Attorney General Suella Braverman QC, despite a letter sent by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to the family’s constituency MP Andrea Leadsom on Monday, which described the idea of a virtual trial as “an unprecedented legal scenario”.

The letter, sent by the Director of Legal Service at the CPS Gregor McGill and seen by PA, read: “Nothing at this stage has been ruled in or ruled out but it must be remembered that holding a virtual trial would be an unprecedented legal scenario.

“Before such a step could be even contemplated, a host of factors (both legal and diplomatic) would have to be considered.”

Following a meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Wednesday, spokesman Radd Seiger told reporters the family were informed of the US Government’s position that they would only agree to a virtual trial if it was under US law – something he described as a “show trial”.

Mr Seiger said Mr Dunn’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn would only accept a virtual trial if the suspect was tried under UK law.

Harry Dunn death
Mr Dunn’s parents met with the Director of Public Prosecutions on Wednesday (Aaron Chown/PA)

Giving her thoughts on Sacoolas’s position, Mrs Charles told PA: “I am really pleased to learn that Mrs Sacoolas is both interested in and willing to consider a virtual trial in the UK.

“It is so important that we move this forward. I need to know what happened to my son and how he died.

“But let me be absolutely clear, we will only entertain a virtual trial if she goes through an English trial and then serves any sentence that is handed down, assuming she is convicted.

“She is of course innocent of any charge until proven otherwise but there is no way we would agree to anything other than that.

It’s really quite simple. As the DPP himself confirmed today, if #annesacoolas did have diplomatic immunity at the time of the crash, @cpsuk could not and would not have charged her. She didn’t and so they did. @FCDOGovUK have serious questions to answer tonight. https://t.co/M41715Tbmm

— Radd Seiger (@RaddSeiger) September 9, 2020

“She was residing in this country, did not have diplomatic immunity as the DPP has made clear, is charged with a serious motoring offence, and must answer to it here. There is no other way.”

Calling for UK authorities to reach out to Sacoolas, Mr Seiger told PA: “Yesterday, Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, shockingly told us that the US administration’s position remains that there are no circumstances in which Mrs Sacoolas would submit herself to the English legal jurisdiction.

“It now appears, if what is being said is true, that Mrs Sacoolas herself holds a different position.

“I would therefore urge the Attorney General to bypass the US administration and go straight to Mrs Sacoolas’s lawyers to make this possibility a reality.

“There can be no further delay for the sake of these parents – they are suffering intolerable pain.”

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