Parents of Harry Dunn consider private prosecution in US

10 December 2019, 07:26

Harry Dunn, 19, died after a collision outside a US Air Force base
Harry Dunn, 19, died after a collision outside a US Air Force base. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The parents of Harry Dunn are set to fly to the US this week as they attempt to bring a private prosecution against the American suspect.

The spokesperson for the family, Radd Seiger said Mr Dunn's parents were going through "untold mental anguish" caused by what they call a "delay" in a charging decision in the 19-year-old's case.

Northamptonshire Police submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on November after detectives flew to the US to interview 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas.

Mr Dunn was killed when his motorbike was involved in a crash with a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27.

Mrs Sacoolas, the motorist allegedly responsible for the crash, claimed diplomatic immunity and was allowed to return to the US.

Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles are expected to fly to America on Wednesday and will use a legal precedent which is more than 240 years old to try to bring the private prosecution.

A precedent of being able to sue in one country, for something that happened in another, came about after John Mostyn, governor of Minorca, was forced to pay £3,000 in damages in 1775 by a London court, to a man who was wrongly banished on a charge of seditious behaviour.

Agnieska Fryszman, the Dunns' lawyer in the US, told MailOnline: "There's a limit to what a civil suit can achieve. It cannot make Ms Sacoolas go back to Britain, but it can shine a light on what actually happened and contribute to the justice the family they feel they deserve."

The civil suit will be submitted in a court in Virginia, where the American currently lives.

A sign erected near to the gates of the airbase
A sign erected near to the gates of the airbase. Picture: PA

In a statement on Monday, Mr Seiger said it "boggles the mind that no charge has yet been laid" and added that discussions about a private prosecution were underway.

He said: "Sadly, the family are losing faith and confidence in the criminal justice agencies to do the right thing and authorise that charge and have therefore reluctantly concluded that they have no choice other than to now actively consider with their lawyers in London bringing a private criminal prosecution against Anne Sacoolas.

"Those discussions are now well advanced. Frankly, no-one who had been through what they had been through, and are continuing to go through, could blame them."

Mr Seiger added that the family felt "completely let down and abandoned" over the case, more than 12 weeks the teenager died in a head-on collision.

A CPS spokeswoman said: "We appreciate how difficult this time must be for Harry's loved ones and understand that his family are seeking answers.

"However, whilst the case is under active consideration, we are unable to meet with Harry's family to discuss its progress.

"The CPS is carefully considering all the available information, including the impact on Harry's family, in order to make an independent and objective charging decision.

"Our Chief Crown Prosecutor will meet with Harry's parents as soon as is it possible to provide them with an update."