Harry Dunn death: Attorney general 'considers virtual trial'

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Harry DunnImage source, Justice4Harry19
Image caption,
Harry Dunn died in hospital after his motorbike was involved in a crash outside RAF Croughton

A "virtual trial" of the woman accused of killing Harry Dunn is being considered, the government says.

Mr Dunn, 19, died last August when his motorbike was in collision with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a US airbase in the UK.

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC said "a trial virtually or in absentia" was among suggestions being looked at by Britain's attorney general.

Mr Dunn's family has said they would be happy with the legal proceedings.

The news comes after MP Andrea Leadsom wrote to the government on 10 August asking it to consider Ms Sacoolas standing trial from the US.

In his response to Mrs Leadsom, Mr Buckland wrote: "I quite understand how important it must be to Harry's family, as the anniversary of his death approaches, to achieve some sort of closure."

"The suggestions you put forward for resolving the impasse by holding a trial virtually or in absentia are as you know being considered by the Attorney General [Suella Braverman QC]."

Image source, Aiken Standard Archive
Image caption,
Anne Sacoolas, pictured on her wedding day in 2003, cited diplomatic immunity after a crash involving her car and Mr Dunn's motorbike outside RAF Croughton

Speaking about Mr Buckland's response, Mr Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles said: "I can see the authorities in London are doing everything they can to ensure that that is just what is going to happen but we will leave them to decide how it happens."

Mrs Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence official, claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December but an extradition request was rejected by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The family's spokesman Radd Seiger said: "If the authorities decide that a British trial led by a British judge in a British court should take place with Mrs Sacoolas attending virtually, then the parents will raise no objection."

In her letter to the government, Ms Leadsom said a virtual trial would allow the US government to "avoid giving the waiver of diplomatic immunity" and should any custodial sentence be handed down it "could likewise be undertaken in the United States".

The Attorney General's office has been approached for comment.

A spokesman for the government said: "The Government's deepest sympathies remain with Harry's family. We are doing everything we can to achieve justice and the case continues to be raised at the highest levels."

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