Harry Dunn's mother 'totally confused' as suspect 'interested in' virtual trial

10 September 2020, 14:18 | Updated: 10 September 2020, 15:19

By Ewan Somerville

Harry Dunn’s mother said she is “totally confused” at the “bolt out of the blue” suggestion that her son’s alleged killer would be willing to submit to a virtual trial in Britain. 

Anne Sacoolas was charged with causing the 19-year-old's death by dangerous driving following a road crash outside RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in August last year.

Sources close to the 43-year-old said she had always been interested in, and remains willing to discuss, a virtual trial but has not been approached by the UK Attorney General's office. 

Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles said “our Government [has] got an awful lot of questions now to answer”, adding she would only accept a virtual trial under UK law. 

She told LBC: “Why are we being told definitely that as of yesterday Anne Sacoolas will have nothing to do with being tried under UK law at the moment. Why are we being told that? Who is telling the Government that? 

Harry Dunn died in a car crash aged 19
Harry Dunn died in a car crash aged 19. Picture: PA

“For the CPS to turn around yesterday and say the US is still not playing ball, we are no further forward than we were this time last year, we need questions answered.”

She added that the family “are not yet fully believing” the “lightning strike” suggestion of a virtual trial. 

"Because we don't have our trial yet, we don't have our inquest yet which is totally and utterly wrong. We should not have to wait to find out the last our or so of our boy's life for this long."

The US suspect claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash which killed Mr Dunn and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

An extradition request, submitted by the Home Office, was refused by the US State Department, a decision later described as "final".

READ MORE: Harry Dunn family reveal new hope for justice on death anniversary

READ MORE: Dunn family say they would sit down with Anne Sacoolas to hear 'her side'

Any decision on a virtual trial rests with Attorney General Suella Braverman QC. However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) wrote to the family's constituency MP Andrea Leadsom on Monday suggesting a virtual trial would be a long shot. 

CPS director of legal service Gregor McGill wrote: "Nothing at this stage has been ruled in or ruled out but it must be remembered that holding a virtual trial would be an unprecedented legal scenario.

"Before such a step could be even contemplated, a host of factors (both legal and diplomatic) would have to be considered."

Following a meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Wednesday, Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger told reporters the family were informed the US Government would only agree to a virtual trial under US law - something he branded a "show trial".

"It now appears, if what is being said is true, that Mrs Sacoolas herself holds a different position,” Mr Seiger said. 

"I would therefore urge the Attorney General to bypass the US administration and go straight to Mrs Sacoolas's lawyers to make this possibility a reality.

"There can be no further delay for the sake of these parents - they are suffering intolerable pain."