US

Anne Sacoolas advised by US government not to attend sentencing in person

A spokesperson for the family of 19-year-old Harry Dunn have said they are “horrified” to learn that US government employee Anne Sacoolas has been granted permission to appear at the Old Bailey for her sentencing via video-link.

Radd Seiger, spokesman for The Dunn family, told the PA news agency the teenager’s parents think that the US government is “actively interfering in our criminal justice system”.

“Harry’s family are victims of a serious crime and they have been kept in the dark completely about what is to come at Thursday’s hearing since Mrs Sacoolas’s guilty plea on October 20,” he said.

“We are horrified to learn that the United States Government is now actively interfering in our criminal justice system.

“Their ongoing cruel treatment of Harry’s parents is nothing short of inhumane and it continues to take a heavy toll on their mental health.

Split picture of Anne Sacoolas and Harry Dunn
Image:
Split picture of Anne Sacoolas and Harry Dunn

“If there is a genuine reason why Mrs Sacoolas should not appear in court on Thursday, as directed by the judge, then the parents would happily accept that.

“But on the face of it, it appears that this is nothing short of a cowardly act on the part of an oppressor.

More on Anne Sacoolas

“I have today asked for an urgent meeting with the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to understand what action the British Government intends to take in response.”

The family’s reaction comes after a court spokesman said that the joint application made by the prosecution and defence for Sacoolas to participate and be sentenced by live link has been renewed.

Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US government after the incident in Northamptonshire, occurred and was able to leave the UK after 19 days.

After pleading guilty of careless driving, after she crashed her Volvo into the young motorcyclist near RAF Croughton back in August 2019, sentencing judge Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb urged her to return to Britain to face justice, which has been ignored.

Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Mrs Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb making her comments at the Old Bailey in London, after US citizen Anne Sacoolas (on screen right) pleaded guilty, via video-link from the United States, to causing Harry Dunn's death by dangerous driving
Image:
Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook

Sacoolas attended both previous hearings via a video-link from her lawyer’s offices in Washington-DC, despite Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb saying although she could not compel her to face justice in person, it would provide “weighty evidence” of “genuine remorse”.

Sacoolas’s representatives and the US State Department have been contacted for comment.

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