UK

PM’s plea to US to rethink immunity over Harry Dunn fatal crash

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBoris Johnson responds to the US diplomatic immunity row

The prime minister has urged the US to reconsider giving a diplomat’s wife immunity after she left the UK despite being a suspect in a fatal crash.

Anne Sacoolas is wanted for questioning over the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn in Northamptonshire on 27 August.

The US State Department said diplomatic immunity was “rarely waived”.

Boris Johnson said the UK would speak to the US ambassador and “if we can’t resolve it then… I will be raising it myself with the White House”.

Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, diplomats and their family members are immune from prosecution in their host country, as long as they are not nationals of that country. However, their immunity can be waived by the state that has sent them.

Image copyright Family Photo
Image caption Harry Dunn, from Charlton, Banbury, died in hospital after his motorbike was in a crash with a Volvo

Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Watford, Mr Johnson said: “I think everybody’s sympathies are very much with the family of Harry Dunn and our condolences to them for their tragic loss.

“I must answer you directly, I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.

“And I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and will engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country.

“That’s a point that we’ve raised or are raising today with the American ambassador here in the UK and I hope it will be resolved very shortly.

“And to anticipate a question you might want to raise, if we can’t resolve it then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionHarry Dunn crash: Family ‘will travel to US to fight for change’

Both Northamptonshire’s chief constable and police and crime commissioner have already urged the Americans to waive Ms Sacoolas’s diplomatic immunity.

Chief constable Nick Adderley said “based on CCTV evidence”, officers knew that “a vehicle alighted from the RAF base at Croughton” and was “on the wrong side of the road”.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has also urged the US Embassy to reconsider.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The crash happened on the B4031 near RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in August

Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said it was “such a dishonourable thing to do” for Ms Sacoolas to leave the country and urged her to come back.

Ms Charles told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “[It was] unintentional. She didn’t purposely drive on the other side of the road… if she’d have stayed and faced us as a family we could have found that forgiveness… but forgiving her for leaving, I’m nowhere near.”

The US State Department said it was in “close consultation” with British officials and has offered its “deepest sympathies” to the family of Mr Dunn.

Source: bbc.co.uk

Tagged

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *