Harry Dunn family to seek extradition of alleged killer if criminal case fails

·3 min read
TELEMMGLPICT000220949835.jpeg - PA
TELEMMGLPICT000220949835.jpeg - PA

Ministers will face demands for the extradition of Harry Dunn’s alleged US killer Anne Sacoolas next month unless lawyers can unlock a stalemate over bringing her to trial.

Dunn family supporters will call for her extradition if plans for a criminal trial by video link in the UK have not been agreed by the third anniversary of Harry’s death on August 27 2019.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are said to be close to agreement with her lawyers after she pulled out of a video link appearance before UK magistrates in January but has yet to strike a deal.

The sticking point has been her request for assurances from the CPS that she would not be jailed if she was tried before the UK courts, according to legal sources.

Ms Sacoolas faces charges of causing death by dangerous driving after her car collided with Mr Dunn’s motorcycle when she was on the wrong side of the road near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail, which has been raised to life in new legislation that came into force last week.

Last year, a lawyer for Ms Sacoolas said her client was willing to undertake community service, make a financial contribution in Mr Dunn’s memory and to meet the parents to help give them some peace – an offer rejected by the family.

It is understood the CPS has told Ms Sacoolas’s lawyers it cannot tie the hands of a judge who must be free to decide the length of any sentence if found guilty. Even if she was to plead guilty to a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving, the maximum sentence would still be five years’ jail.

“The US are asking the impossible of UK prosecutors and the legal system to guarantee that she won’t go to jail,” said Mark Stephens, the lawyer who previously represented the family. “You cannot prejudge a trial.”

Ms Sacoolas would also be expected to serve the beginning of her sentence in the UK, under British law, which is understood to be another sticking point in the discussions. The US administration has previously refused extradition on the basis she had diplomatic immunity at the time of the crash.

“If there is still no agreement by the third anniversary, everyone is primed to resubmit the extradition request,” said a political source. “This cannot go on indefinitely. We cannot do the inquest until the conclusion of the criminal case.”

A spokesman for the family and lawyers for Ms Sacoolas declined to comment.

The CPS “vacated” the proposed virtual hearing on January 18 ”to enable ongoing discussions between the CPS and Anne Sacoolas’s legal representatives to continue.”

Government sources would only refer back to the CPS statement then which said: “Mrs Sacoolas has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice any proceedings.”

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