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Judicial review ‘to be launched’ into FCO advice to police, Dunn family says

UK News | Published:

Harry Dunn was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car allegedly driven by a US official’s wife on August 27.

The family of Harry Dunn are set to launch a judicial review into advice given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to Northamptonshire Police over the decision to grant diplomatic immunity to the suspect in the teenager’s death.

Anne Sacoolas, 42, who is reportedly married to a US intelligence official, left the UK just days after the crash which killed the teenage motorcyclist on August 27.

The 19-year-old’s mother, Charlotte Charles, and the teenager’s father, Tim Dunn, told a press conference in New York that they felt let down by the decision to allow Ms Sacoolas – the motorist who allegedly collided with the teenager – to flee after the collision outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

Harry Dunn death
Undated family handout file photo issued by Northamptonshire Police of Harry Dunn. The family of 19-year-old Harry Dunn has said the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has written to them to say a US suspect in the case does not have diplomatic immunity.

Mr Seiger said: “What Mark and I are going to do, is we are going to write to the FCO very shortly, explaining that we don’t want to do a judicial review, but to avoid that please let us have the following documents – all e-mails, messages, notes in relation to your advice to Northamptonshire Police that this lady had it (diplomatic immunity).

“What we don’t know is whether somebody cocked up or whether they were put under pressure by the Americans to concede.

“We want to conduct an investigation into the FCO’s decision to advise Northamptonshire Police that this lady had the benefit of diplomatic immunity.

Harry Dunn death
(Left to right) Bruce Charles and Charlotte Charles (Harry’s mother), lawyer Radd Seiger, Tim Dunn (Harry’s father) and Tracey Dunn at a press conference at the Parker New York Hotel where Charlotte Charles said that Anne Sacoolas, the American woman suspected of causing her son’s death, should be brought back to the UK to face justice (Josh Payne/PA)

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Speaking at a press conference in New York on Monday, Tim Dunn said: Mr Dunn added: “Somewhere, somebody has made a decision to give this lady immunity.

“She’s not entitled to immunity as it’s been said and we’ve known that from the start.

“They made a mistake, someone has made a mistake.”

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote to the family prior to their departure to the US, telling them Mrs Sacoolas no longer had immunity.

“The letter is worded very carefully, they’re not saying it’s just a change of heart – they are saying that it’s an evolution,” Mr Seiger said.

“Both Mark Stephens and Geoffrey Robertson said, ‘It’s not an evolution – they’ve (the FCO) been lying to you’.”

Mr Seiger told PA that the Director of Protocol at the Foreign Office, Neil Holland, would “welcome” the idea of handing documents over to the family’s lawyers.

He continued: “I told Dominic Raab, I’m going to launch a judicial review – and he didn’t like the sound of that.

“They were twitchy (at the meeting with the family), there were three lawyers in the room – why would you bring three lawyers into a room with a grieving mother. Why?

“There were 12 people in a room – for a meeting that was supposed to be him expressing his condolences.

“He (Mr Raab) was stiff, he was cold, he was unpleasant, he was rude. Then three days later we get another letter. That isn’t right.

“The evolution doesn’t happen in three days.”

The FCO has been contacted for comment.

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