The family of a motorcyclist who have been fighting to have the US woman accused of causing the crash which killed their teenage son extradited back to Britain are set to launch a private prosecution against the UK’s Foreign Secretary.
The parents of teenager Harry Dunn are accusing Dominic Raab of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice after suspect Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence expert, returned to the States claiming diplomatic immunity.
Mrs Sacoolas, 42, is charged in the UK with causing the death of the 19-year-old by dangerous driving following a crash outside a US military base in Northamptonshire in August last year.
US officials have so far rejected the UK’s request to extradite Mrs Sacoolas, who last month was made the subject of an Interpol Red Warning – meaning she will likely be arrested if she leaves her home country.
But Mr Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, are now set to allege Mr Raab allowed suspect Anne Sacoolas to leave the UK without involving the police, while her claim for diplomatic immunity was ‘ambiguous’.
The parents of teenager Harry Dunn (pictured) are set to launch a private prosecution against Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
Mr Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn (pictured), are set to allege Mr Raab allowed suspect in their son’s crash death, Anne Sacoolas, to leave the country without involving the police, while her claim for diplomatic immunity was ‘ambiguous’
According to reports, the Foreign Office (FCO) remain confident it has acted properly and lawfully in relation to Mr Dunn’s death. Pictured: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
They have also accused Mr Raab of preventing Northamptonshire Police from conducting their investigations into the teenager’s death.
The case is a private prosecution, meaning it is not being brought on behalf of the police or other prosecuting authority.
What is a private prosecution and who can make one?
A private prosecution is a a prosecution started by a private individual, or entity who/which is not acting on behalf of the police or other prosecuting authority – such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
There are a number of organisations that regularly prosecute cases before the courts of England and Wales but they do so as private individuals, such as the RSPCA, which often brings prosecutions against people for animal welfare offences.
There are some limitations including that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has power to take over private prosecutions and, in some cases, the private prosecutor must seek the consent of the Attorney General or of the DPP before the commencement of proceedings.
The CPS can, where appropriate, exercise the DPP’s power either to continue the prosecution or to discontinue or stop it.
Source: The CPS
According to reports, the Foreign Office (FCO) remain confident it has acted properly and lawfully in relation to Mr Dunn’s death.
In October, the Foreign Secretary told MPs the FCO had consistently called for Sacoolas’s immunity to be waived and that the police could not have lawfully prevented her from leaving the UK.
It is understood part of Mrs Charles and Mr Dunn’s case concerns a briefing note copied to Mr Raab’s private office three days after the crash, near to RAF Croughton on August 27 last year, in which an FCO official said there was ‘some ambiguity in the case’ concerning the suspect’s claim to diplomatic immunity.
In court documents, seen by the Press Association (PA), a separate briefing note from an FCO official said they had told US counterparts they would be ‘reserving our position’ on immunity and ‘informing the US that we are investigating the background to the agreement’.
Procedural guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service says: ‘The police are responsible for establishing whether an individual or premises has diplomatic immunity.’
Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December, but US secretary of state Mike Pompeo rejected an extradition request for her, a decision later described by the state department as ‘final’.
Speaking about the decision to bring the private prosecution, Mr Dunn’s father said: ‘We are just normal people who have worked hard all our lives and paid our taxes.
Mrs Sacoolas (pictured) was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December, but US secretary of state Mike Pompeo rejected an extradition request for her, a decision later described by the state department as ‘final’
The crash took place near to US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August last year
‘Like everyone else, we know that if we break the law we will have to deal with it.
‘But Mr Raab appears to have felt that he is above the law and that it was OK to let Anne Sacoolas go and not tell the police about the problems with her claim to diplomatic immunity.’
He added: ‘No-one is above the law. We believe he has broken it and will have to face the consequences. We have already called for him to resign.
‘Now he will have to account to the courts for his actions.’
A spokeswoman for the FCO said: ‘We have the deepest sympathy for Harry’s family. No family should have to experience what they have been through.
‘The case remains of the highest priority for the Foreign Secretary who continues to raise the case with the US government.
‘Both the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister have been clear with the US that the refusal to extradite Anne Sacoolas amounts to a denial of justice, and that she should return to the UK.
‘The Foreign Secretary remains ready to meet Harry’s family and to support them to get the justice they deserve.’
Source: Daily Mail – Articles