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Damages case against Anne Sacoolas for wrongful death of Harry Dunn can go ahead in US, judge rules


A judge in the United States on Tuesday ruled that a civil claim for damages against Anne Sacoolas — the woman accused of killing 19-year-old Harry Dunn while she was driving on the wrong side of the road in England — can be heard in Virginia, according to court documents seen by CNN.

Sacoolas had sought to dismiss the case on the grounds that it would have been more convenient for it to be heard in England where the crash occurred in 2019, despite the fact that she has repeatedly declared she will not travel back to the UK to face criminal prosecution.

Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and fled to the US after the car crash outside RAF Croughton, a central England military base controlled by the US Air Force and used as a global intelligence gathering station by the CIA and NSA. At the US District Court in Alexandria on Tuesday, Judge T.S. Ellis denied the motion by the defendants to dismiss the case saying it can go ahead partly because Sacoolas had refused to return to the UK.

“While it is commendable that Defendant Anne Sacoolas admits that she was negligent and that her negligence caused Harry Dunn’s death, this does not equate acceptance of responsibility. Full acceptance of responsibility entails facing those harmed by her negligence and taking responsibility for her acts where they occurred, in the United Kingdom,” Ellis said in his written court decision.

Radd Seiger, advisor and spokesman for the Dunn family, said: “Having studied this judgment we are delighted to see that common sense has prevailed. Harry’s parents only brought these legal proceedings as a last resort. The Sacoolases were on the one hand arguing that the civil claim for wrongful death should be tried in the UK as that was the ‘more convenient’ forum whilst at the same time arguing that she would not return to the UK to face a criminal prosecution because she fears she would not get a fair trial.”

“Harry’s parents never wanted to enter into dispute with anybody and they fundamentally believe that the way to resolve differences is with dialogue.

Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said: “We are pleased and relieved at the Court’s decision. We only took this step as a last resort following the denial of justice in the extradition case on strong legal advice from our legal team.”

Seiger told CNN that “the parents now intend to pursue their legal rights to the fullest extent possible.” The next court date in the US is scheduled for March 3rd.

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