The Daily Telegraph

End to US diplomatic immunity loophole used by Dunn accused


‘It’s definitely worth a mini-celebratio­n and Dominic Raab and his team deserve some credit for that’

AN “ANOMALY” that allowed a US diplomat’s wife to claim legal immunity after the death of British teenager Harry Dunn has been scrapped, Dominic Raab announced yesterday.

The UK and US have agreed to amend the loophole that allowed Anne Sacoolas to return to her home country after a crash which killed Harry, 19, in August last year. The changes mean that relatives of American diplomats at the RAF Croughton base will no longer be eligible for diplomatic immunity.

The Foreign Secretary said he hoped the news would bring “some small measure of comfort” to the Dunn family who continue to fight for justice.

The Foreign Secretary said: “It’s important that we have now agreed with the US new arrangemen­ts that have closed the anomaly that led to the denial of justice in the heartbreak­ing case of Harry Dunn.

“The new arrangemen­ts mean it could not happen again. I know these changes won’t bring Harry back, and I appreciate the pain and suffering the family are still going through. But I hope this may bring some small measure of comfort to them, because I know they want to prevent any other family going through the same ordeal,” Mr Raab added.

Charlotte Charles, Harry’s mother, praised the move as a “huge step forward”. She said: “I’m aware that we still have a huge task ahead of us.

“It’s definitely worth a mini-celebratio­n and Dominic Raab and his team deserve some credit for that – but the only time I will ever give them full credit will be when they have worked with us to get Anne Sacoolas back.”

Mr Raab said the “waiver of immunity from criminal jurisdicti­on is now expressly extended to family members of US staff ”. It also extends to all embassy staff serving at the Croughton Annex “in respect of acts outside their official duties, not just administra­tive and technical staff ”, he told MPS.

The US state department said the amendment to the arrangemen­ts was “a reflection of our especially close relationsh­ip” with the UK.

The Crown Prosecutio­n Service authorised Northampto­nshire Police in December to charge Ms Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving. However, the US has so far refused to extradite Ms Sacoolas. Northampto­nshire Police said the force “remains committed to working with colleagues in the Crown Prosecutio­n Service to ensure Anne Sacoolas is returned from the US to allow criminal proceeding­s to go ahead here”.

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, raised the issue again on Tuesday in a meeting with Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state. A Downing Street spokesman said: “He said there was a strong feeling among the people of the UK that justice must be delivered.”

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