Anne Sacoolas, who is alleged to have killed motorcyclist Harry Dunn in a traffic crash last year, is “willing to discuss” facing an online trial in an English court, her lawyers have said. Ms Sacoolas has been charged with causing the 19-year-old’s death by dangerous driving following the crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in
Ms Sacoolas has been charged with causing the 19-year-old’s death by dangerous driving following the crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August last year.
The 43-year-old American left the UK following the crash, claiming diplomatic immunity. But the director of public prosecutions (DPP) concluded – in opposition to Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary – that Ms Sacoolas did not in fact have that immunity.
Her lawyers said in a statement late on Thursday: “We have been and remain willing to discuss a resolution, including the possibility of virtual proceedings, with the UK authorities.
“Anne has never tried to avoid being held accountable for the tragic accident and she would like nothing more than to find a path forward and to provide the family some measure of peace.”
Suella Braverman QC, the attorney general, is considering the virtual trial idea despite a letter sent by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to the family’s constituency MP Andrea Leadsom on Monday, which described it as “an unprecedented legal scenario”.
The letter, sent by the director of legal service at the CPS Gregor McGill and seen by the Press Association news agency, read: “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, family spokesperson Radd Seiger told reporters that Dunn’s relatives had been informed of the US government’s position that it would only agree to a virtual trial if it was under US law – something he described as a “show trial”.
Mr Seiger said Mr Dunn’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn would only accept a virtual trial if the suspect was tried under UK law.
Responding to Ms Sacoolas’s lawyers, Ms Charles told Press Association: “I am really pleased to learn that Mrs Sacoolas is both interested in and willing to consider a virtual trial in the UK.
“It is so important that we move this forward. I need to know what happened to my son and how he died.
“But let me be absolutely clear, we will only entertain a virtual trial if she goes through an English trial and then serves any sentence that is handed down, assuming she is convicted.
“She is of course innocent of any charge until proven otherwise but there is no way we would agree to anything other than that.
“She was residing in this country, did not have diplomatic immunity as the DPP has made clear, is charged with a serious motoring offence, and must answer to it here. There is no other way.”
Additional reporting by Press Association