Harry Dunn's parents given go-ahead to appeal against High Court immunity ruling

3 December 2020, 14:21 | Updated: 3 December 2020, 14:28

Harry Dunn died in August last year
Harry Dunn died in August last year. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Harry Dunn's parents have been granted permission to appeal against a High Court ruling that their son's alleged killer was entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn were told by their lawyers on Wednesday that they have been given the go-ahead to appeal against the ruling on Anne Sacoolas.

As part of their judgement handed down on November 24, Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Saini accepted that Sacoolas "enjoyed immunity from UK criminal jurisdiction".

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokeswoman said the ruling was "clear" and showed Sacoolas "held immunity" at the time of the crash.

READ MORE: Harry Dunn's family lose High Court battle over diplomatic immunity for Anne Sacoolas

The FCDO had made submissions objecting to the family's appeal, arguing that they did not have "a real prospect of success".

The Dunn family's spokesman said Radd Seiger said the decision to grant an appeal "signals that the judges accept that their decision may be wrong".

Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car being driven on the wrong side of the road by Sacoolas outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

The parents of Harry Dunn, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn
The parents of Harry Dunn, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn. Picture: PA

The US Government asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of the 43-year-old following the incident and she was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

An extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department in January - a decision later described as "final".

Speaking after their application to appeal was granted, Mr Seiger, said: "Harry's parents were obviously disappointed with the ruling that Anne Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity.

"From the moment the judgment was handed down, they were given very strong legal advice that the ruling was wrong and should be appealed.

"The new legal team, which now includes the leading global law firm Allen & Overy, have worked round the clock to submit the appeal.

"Harry's parents are delighted that the court has granted permission in their case as it signals that the judges accept that their decision may be wrong."

Mr Seiger continued: "Harry's parents had to show that they stood a realistic prospect of success in the appeal and they have succeeded in doing so.

"This represents a major step forward in their pursuit of justice for Harry.”

A spokeswoman for the FCDO said: "As the Foreign Secretary has said, we are on the side of the family and the US refusal to extradite Anne Sacoolas amounts to a denial of justice, and she should return to the UK.

"The High Court's judgment was clear, Anne Sacoolas held immunity, and the Foreign Office acted properly and lawfully throughout."