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US advises Harry Dunn’s murderer Anne Sacoolas not to attend Old Bailey sentencing in Person

The US government has advised the killer of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn not to attend his sentencing at the Old Bailey in person.

Dunn died in August 2019 when he was struck by a car driven by the wife of a US diplomat, Anne Sacoolas, outside Croughton, a US military base in Northamptonshire.

In October, Sacoolas, 45, finally admitted responsibility for Harry’s death in an “unprecedented” hearing at the Old Bailey, which he attended remotely from the US.

She pleaded guilty to death by negligent driving and was urged by the sentencing judge, Ms Justice Cheema-Grubb, to return to Britain to face justice.

Harry Dunn’s family called the decision not to appear in person a “cowardly act” and accused the US government of “actively interfering in our criminal justice system.”

Following the October plea hearing, the former head of extraditions at the Crown Prosecution Service condemned the decision to allow Sacoolas to stand trial by video link.

Nick Vamos denounced the trial, saying it was “not what anyone would call fairness” as he could have “just turned off his video link and walked away” at any point in the proceedings.

He said allowing her to stand trial in the United States without ever stepping foot in the courtroom “undermines the power of the court.”

Anne Sacoolas, The Murderer Of 19-Year-Old Motorcyclist Harry Dunn, Has Been Advised By The Us Government Not To Attend Her Sentencing At The Old Bailey In Person. Above: Sacoolas Photographed In Virginia After Returning To The Us Following Mr. Dunn'S Death.

Anne Sacoolas, the murderer of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn, has been advised by the US government not to attend her sentencing at the Old Bailey in person. Above: Sacoolas photographed in Virginia after returning to the US following Mr. Dunn’s death.

The United States told Sacoolas not to come to the UK and has granted a renewed request for her to appear via video link.

A spokesman for the court said: ‘The joint request by the prosecution and defense for Ms Sacoolas to participate and be sentenced by live link has been renewed.

“The defense has provided material in support of the request, including evidence that Ms Sacoolas’ government employer has advised her not to attend in person.

The judge has granted the request.

After beating Dunn, Sacoolas was granted diplomatic immunity and returned to the United States. An extradition request was subsequently refused.

Sacoolas faces up to five years in prison at his sentence.

Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger said they were “appalled” by the decision.

He said: ‘Harry’s family are victims of a serious crime and have been kept completely in the dark about what is to come at Thursday’s hearing since Ms Sacoolas’ guilty plea on 20 October.

“We are horrified to learn that the United States government is now actively interfering with our criminal justice system.

“The cruel treatment that Harry’s parents continue to receive is nothing short of inhumane and continues to take a serious toll on his mental health.

“If there is a genuine reason why Ms. Sacoolas should not appear in court on Thursday, as ordered by the judge, then the parents would gladly accept that.

‘But, at first glance, it appears that this is nothing less than a cowardly act on the part of an oppressor.

“Today I have requested an urgent meeting with the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, to understand what action the British government intends to take in response.”

Dunn Died In August 2019 When He Was Struck By A Car Driven By The Wife Of A Us Diplomat, Anne Sacoolas, Outside Croughton, A Us Military Base In Northamptonshire.

Dunn Died In August 2019 When He Was Struck By A Car Driven By The Wife Of A Us Diplomat, Anne Sacoolas, Outside Croughton, A Us Military Base In Northamptonshire.

Dunn died in August 2019 when he was struck by a car driven by the wife of a US diplomat, Anne Sacoolas, outside Croughton, a US military base in Northamptonshire.

The diplomat was driving on the wrong side of the road after leaving the airbase on August 27, 2019.

He hit the teenager when he was traveling in the opposite direction on his motorcycle.

When asked at the October hearing how he pleaded guilty to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving, he leaned forward in his chair and replied that he was not guilty.

When asked how he pleaded guilty to causing death by reckless or careless driving, he stumbled over his words before saying, “Guilty.”

Gasps were heard in the public gallery where ten members of Mr. Dunn’s family and friends looked on, some of them breaking down in tears.

The judge, Justice Cheema-Grubb, said she could not make any order requiring Sacoolas to travel to the UK for sentencing.

Mr Dunn’s parents, Charlotte and Tim Dunn, previously said how they felt they could “really be happy again” after Sacoolas pleaded guilty.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning in October, Ms Charles said: ‘I promised I would do him justice… so three years later, to hear that guilty plea, it’s almost indescribable.

In October, Sacoolas, 45, Finally Admitted Responsibility For Harry'S Death At A Hearing At The Old Bailey, Which He Attended Remotely From The Us. Above: Sacoolas Appearing Before Westminster Magistrates' Court

In October, Sacoolas, 45, Finally Admitted Responsibility For Harry'S Death At A Hearing At The Old Bailey, Which He Attended Remotely From The Us. Above: Sacoolas Appearing Before Westminster Magistrates' Court

In October, Sacoolas, 45, finally admitted responsibility for Harry’s death at a hearing at the Old Bailey, which he attended remotely from the US. Above: Sacoolas appearing before Westminster Magistrates’ Court

Court Artist Drawing By Elizabeth Cook Of Mrs Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb Making Her Remarks At The Old Bailey In London, After Us Citizen Anne Sacoolas (Screen Right) Pleaded Guilty

Court Artist Drawing By Elizabeth Cook Of Mrs Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb Making Her Remarks At The Old Bailey In London, After Us Citizen Anne Sacoolas (Screen Right) Pleaded Guilty

Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Mrs Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb making her remarks at the Old Bailey in London, after US citizen Anne Sacoolas (screen right) pleaded guilty

‘The release of tension that you don’t even realize you’re holding on to. Your shoulders drop.

‘The many, many silent tears that fell down each of our faces that you didn’t even expect to come because you don’t even dream that moment is going to happen. It was incredible.’

He also talked about how they can now celebrate this Christmas after saying the family had “ignored” previous festive occasions since Mr Dunn’s death.

‘We can do Christmas this year now. We can have a real tree. We can put the presents back under,” he said.

“The last three Christmases we put it aside and pretend it’s not happening, and it’s been another painful day that you have to go through like any other day.

“I think that this year we are going to be able to smile, we are going to celebrate Christmas.”

WHAT IS DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY AND HOW DOES IT APPLY TO THE HARRY DUNN CASE?

By Josh Payne, Pennsylvania Chief Reporter

US citizen Anne Sacoolas pleaded guilty to causing the death of Harry Dunn by reckless driving during virtual proceedings at the Old Bailey.

Here, the PA news agency discusses how diplomatic immunity affected the 19-year-old’s case and why Sacoolas was able to appear in court via video link from his home country.

– What is diplomatic immunity?

Diplomatic immunity is a legal exemption from certain laws granted to diplomats by the state in which they work.

It ensures that they will not be subject to prosecution under the laws of the host country. It is governed by an international treaty called the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and UK law called the Diplomatic Privileges Act.

– Why was diplomatic immunity affirmed in favor of Anne Sacoolas?

The position of the US Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is that dependents (such as spouses or children) of US administrative and technical staff at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire had diplomatic immunity at the time of the accident.

The Dunn family has disputed this, but the High Court ruled that Sacoolas was entitled to immunity in November 2020.

– Why could diplomatic immunity be asserted for Sacoolas but not for her husband?

The Vienna Convention states that waivers of immunity must always be ‘express’.

In an agreement drawn up for RAF Croughton in 1994-1995 between the UK and the US, the immunity enjoyed by administrative and technical staff would be waived for actions outside the performance of their duties.

The dependents were not named in the agreements.

– Why was Sacoolas not extradited?

An extradition request, filed by the Home Office in January 2020, was rejected by the US State Department, describing it as “highly inappropriate”.

President Joe Biden’s administration said the decision not to extradite Sacoolas was “final.”

– Why has Sacoolas appeared before a UK court virtually?

The court’s ability to conduct remote proceedings stems from coronavirus legislation, which allows even the most important court sessions, such as plea and sentencing hearings, to be held virtually.

– Can Sacoolas withdraw from the proceedings?

Former CPS extradition chief Nick Vamos said Sacoolas “could at any point in this process simply have turned off his video link and walked away, and there’s nothing the court could have done about it.”

– Does the conclusion of the criminal proceedings mean the end of the Dunn family campaign?

Although the main goals of his campaign have been achieved, Harry’s parents are still eager for an inquest into their son’s death and a parliamentary inquiry.

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Jacky

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