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Parents of road crash victim Harry Dunn lose court battle over 'wrong-side' driver's diplomatic immunity

Parents of road crash victim Harry Dunn lose court battle over 'wrong-side' driver's diplomatic immunity
The parents of 19-year-old Harry Dunn, the UK teenager killed last year in a road crash, have lost a legal challenge against the Foreign Office over his alleged killer being afforded diplomatic immunity and let leave Britain.

The High Court rejected the case presented by Dunn’s parents, as it ruled that Anne Sacoolas, the driver of the car that collided with their son’s bike, had “enjoyed immunity from UK criminal jurisdiction at the time of Harry’s death”. Lord Justice Flaux and Justice Saini also rejected the accusation that the UK Foreign Office had “usurped” the police investigation into their son’s death.

The family’s claim had focused on a 1995 agreement between the UK and the US, which had put staff at RAF Croughton air base on the diplomatic list. Following a request from the Foreign Office, the US had waived immunity for administrative and technical staff for “acts performed outside the course of their duties.” However, the Foreign Office argues that it was not waived for family members, meaning that Sacoolas had immunity at the time of the crash. Dunn’s parents argued that, as she had no duties on the base, there was never any relevant immunity for her in the first place.

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Dunn was killed on August 27, 2019, after a car driven by Sacoolas on the wrong side of the road collided with his motorbike near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. Sacoolas lived on the base with her husband, who worked there as a technical assistant. Prior to being charged and a few weeks after the crash, she left the country to return to the United States.

Northamptonshire Police have charged Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving and, after the US State Department rejected an extradition request, have said they are considering trying her in absentia.

Dunn’s parents had initially launched legal action against Northamptonshire Police but dropped the claim in July, stating through their family spokesman that they had absolved the force of any blame.

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