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Friday, December 20, 2019
Wife of US intelligence agent is charged in relation to death of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn
Prosecutors have begun extradition proceedings against the wife of a US intelligence agent who left Britain following a road accident in which a British teenager was killed.
Anne Sacoolas returned to America claiming diplomatic immunity after she allegedly collided with a motorbike been ridden by 19-year-old Harry Dunn on August 27.
Despite having left the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) yesterday authorised Northamptonshire Police to charge the 42-year-old with one count of causing death by dangerous driving - an offence that carries a maximum sentence of 14-years.
Speaking after the announcement, Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, described it as a “huge step” towards getting justice for her son.
Mrs Charles said: “We feel that we have made a huge step in the start of achieving the promise to Harry that we made.
"We made that promise to him the night we lost him to seek justice thinking it was going to be really easy.
"We had no idea it was going to be so hard and it would take so long but we feel it is a huge step towards that promise we made Harry."
Harry Dunn died in a crash in Northamptonshire in August
But the US authorities have already said they will not agree to the extradition request and Mrs Sacoolas has refused to return voluntarily to the UK.
A statement issued by her attorney while she devastated by the accident she felt a criminal charge with a maximum sentence of 14-years was not a proportionate response.
The statement said: “We will continue that dialogue in an effort to move forward from this terrible tragedy. But Anne will not return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible but unintentional accident.”
The US State Department said it was "disappointed" at the decision to charge Sacoolas, adding her extradition would be an "egregious abuse" of the law because it was "clear" she had immunity during her time in the UK.
The spokesman added: "The use of an extradition treaty to attempt to return the spouse of a former diplomat by force would establish an extraordinarily troubling precedent. We do not believe that the UK's charging decision is a helpful development."
Chief Crown Prosecutor Janine Smith, said: “Following the death of Harry Dunn in Northamptonshire, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised Northamptonshire Police to charge Anne Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions has met with Harry Dunn’s family to explain the basis of the decision we have made following a thorough review of the evidence available.
“May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Anne Sacoolas are now active and that she has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
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