Case against American woman accused of killing a UK teenager can go ahead in the US, judge rules
Suckles claimed diplomatic immunity and fled to the US 19 days after the August 2019 fatal collision outside RAF Croughton, a military base in England controlled by the US Air Force, used by the CIA and NSA as a global intelligence gathering station Gone.
In January 2020, the United Kingdom’s attempt to extradite Sackulus to face criminal charges of death by dangerous driving by US authorities was terminated. Instead in September 2020, the Doon family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Sacullas and his partner Jonathan in Virginia where the couple live.
Sacoolas had sought to dismiss the civil case on the grounds that it would be more convenient for trial in England, even though it had repeatedly refused to travel to the UK to face a criminal indictment.
On Tuesday in US District Court in Alexandria, Judge TS Ellis dismissed the motion by defendants to dismiss the civil case, saying it should continue in Virginia. “Ellis said that the facilitation of favor and end of justice in this case in the Eastern District of Virginia is the best.”
Ellis described his decision partly because of what he described as “an apparent inconsistency” in the reasoning of Sackulus that a civil case would be best heard in England, while he did not pursue any legal proceedings. Refused to return to the UK.
Rad Seeger, an advisor and spokesman for the Dunn family, said in a statement that the family was happy to see “common sense prevailed,” adding that “Harry’s parents never wanted to enter into a dispute with anyone , And they fundamentally believe that the way to resolve differences is through dialogue. ”
Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, told CNN in a statement, “We are delighted and relieved at the court’s decision. We only took strong legal advice from the legal team as a last resort after the denial of justice in the extradition case Took this step. “
At the time of the August 27, 2019 accident, Sacoolas was described as “the wife of an American diplomat,” but in an astonishing revelation earlier this month, her lawyer John McGavin told a Virginia court that she was being held by the US State Was employed Department.
According to a transcript of the proceedings, during an interrogation on February 3, Judge Ellis asked about the work of McGavin’s clients at the time of the accident: “Are you saying that Mr. and Mrs. Sackulus by an intelligence agency in the United States Was appointed and that’s why he left? “McGuinn replied:” I think that was an important factor, certainly, especially for Mr. Sackulus. ”
Later in the hearing, Alice continued: “And what Mrs. Sacullas did for the United States department or agency for which she was then employed. McGavin replied:” Your honor, I do not have a description of its specific roles or duties The Were. I do not know this. “Judge Ellis continued:” Are you suggesting that there is a matter of safety, as well? “McGwin replied,” This is what I am led to believe, your honor, but I do not want to end it. ”
McGuinn told the court that he was unable to explain “completely clearly” why Saxulis fled the UK, adding, “I know the answer, but I cannot disclose it.” He later revealed that he was working in the State Department and they called him back.
The revelation of Sackulus’ employment by the US State Department at the time of the accident reopened questions about his claim to diplomatic immunity when he fled to Britain. It was known that her husband was working for the US Intelligence Department as part of the ‘administrative and technical staff’ at RAF Croughton, but Anne Sackulus was only referred to as the wife of a diplomat.
According to court papers in London related to the claim of diplomatic immunity, the US and UK governments entered into a secret agreement in the mid-1990s that US intelligence officers stationed at RAF Croughton claimed diplomatic immunity for any criminal Will not be able. Events outside the US base.
However, the deal did not apply to the wives and children of Americans stationed in England, who would still be eligible for such immunity. If it was known in the days following the accident that Anne Sackulus was employed by the US State Department, she might not be able to easily claim a spouse’s diplomatic immunity.
The US State Department has repeatedly stated that Sackulus had diplomatic immunity at the time of the accident, “as the spouse of a recognized employee of the US Embassy Office.”
In her ruling on Tuesday, Ellis made her feelings clear on Sacculus’ decision to flee the US after the crash, and refused to return to the UK to face her criminal charges: “Although it is plausible that defendant Anne Sacks Confesses that she was negligent and that Harry Dunn died due to her negligence is not equivalent to acceptance of responsibility. Full acceptance of responsibility leads her to negligent harm and takes responsibility for her acts Is where they took place, in the United Kingdom. “
The next court hearing in the US is scheduled to take place on March 3, and Seeger told CNN that Harry Dunn’s parents “now intend to fully pursue their legal rights.”
This story has been updated with more information.